View Full Version : The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact


JEELEN
Aug 22, 2009, 11:08 PM
Viewpoint: The Nazi-Soviet Pact


http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/46242000/jpg/_46242835_orlando-1.jpg
In the second of a series of articles marking the outbreak of World War II 70 years ago, historian Orlando Figes analyses what the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact meant for Europeans in 1939 - and what it means today.

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/img/66a.gif Seventy years on, the pact between Hitler and Stalin still casts a shadow over Europe. Its memory continues to divide.
For the Poles, Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians and Bessarabians, the pact began the reign of terror, mass deportations, slavery and murder which both the Nazi and the Soviet armies brought along with them when they co-ordinated their invasions of these countries in line with the pact's notorious secret protocols - by which Stalin and Hitler had agreed to divide Eastern Europe between their regimes.
For the Jews of all these lands, the pact was the licence for the Holocaust. For the European Left, the idea that the leader of the USSR could sign a pact with Hitler symbolised the moral bankruptcy of the Soviet regime.

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/shared/img/o.gif http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/img/v3/start_quote_rb.gif We are not opposed to war [between Germany and the Western states] if they have a good fight and weaken each other http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/img/v3/end_quote_rb.gif

Josef Stalin, speaking in 1939

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For a long time, apologists for Stalin tried to rationalise his ideological turn-around as a pragmatic necessity to "buy time" for the Soviet Union to arm itself against the threat of Germany.
Certainly, by the summer of 1939, Stalin had good reason to be sceptical that France and Britain were serious about a military alliance with the Soviet Union. The Poles' understandable refusal to allow Soviet troops on to Polish soil was the major stumbling block. This drew the Soviet leader towards Hitler's offer of security.
But Stalin did not see this as buying time for the war with Germany that finally occurred in 1941.
He made no distinction between the liberal capitalist states and the fascist dictatorships - both were enemies.
Through the pact he thought to play them off against each other by giving Hitler a free hand to invade Poland and go to war against its Western allies without intervention by the Soviet Union.
"We are not opposed to war if they have a good fight and weaken each other," Stalin said in 1939.

[B]Still an embarrassment

Alongside the pact itself - signed by German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and his Russian counterpart, Vyacheslav Molotov - were the secret protocols. For many years afterwards, the Soviet Union denied their existence.

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/46243000/gif/_46243370_pactsigning_226.gif For many, the pact began a reign of terror, deportations and murder

It was only in 1989, after mass demonstrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the pact, that a Soviet commission finally acknowledged their existence - though the document itself was not published in Russia until 1992.
The pact remains an embarrassment for those in Putin's Russia who take pride from the Soviet achievement in the war.
Its commemoration is a constant thorn in Russia's relations with its neighbouring European states, which, not surprisingly, recall the pact from the perspective of Soviet oppression after 1945.
The European Parliament has called for 23 August to become a day of remembrance for all the victims of the totalitarian regimes - Hitler's and Stalin's. It is not a bad idea.
Perhaps it would help to ease the tensions that are still created by the memory of the pact.
http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/img/99a.gif
Orlando Figes is Professor of History at Birkbeck College, University of London. He is the author of many books on Russian history, the latest of which is The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia (2007). His books have been translated into more than 20 languages.


(Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8214391.stm. See also: Pact that set the scene for war (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8212451.stm) )

red_elk
Aug 23, 2009, 12:58 AM
A few comments.
For the Jews of all these lands, the pact was the licence for the Holocaust.
About 300.000 of Polish Jews found asylum in Soviet occupation zone and survived.

For a long time, apologists for Stalin tried to rationalise his ideological turn-around as a pragmatic necessity to "buy time" for the Soviet Union to arm itself against the threat of Germany.

That the Russian armies should stand on this line was clearly necessary for the safety of Russia against the Nazi menace. At any rate, the line is there, and an Eastern front has been created which Nazi Germany does not dare assail. When Herr von Ribbentrop was summoned to Moscow last week it was to learn the fact, and to accept the fact, that the Nazi designs upon the Baltic States and upon the Ukraine must come to a dead stop.
W. Churchill, 1 October 1939.

But Stalin did not see this as buying time for the war with Germany that finally occurred in 1941.
He made no distinction between the liberal capitalist states and the fascist dictatorships - both were enemies.
He made no distinction - does it mean he did not see this as buying time for the war with Germany? Don't see logic.

We are not opposed to war [between Germany and the Western states] if they have a good fight and weaken each other
Exactly. Such principle was common for Britain, France and USSR - to redirect German aggression to the East (against USSR) and West, respectively.

taillesskangaru
Aug 23, 2009, 01:06 AM
Churchill was not a leftist.

red_elk
Aug 23, 2009, 01:24 AM
Churchill was not a leftist.
Fixed, thanks's

JEELEN
Aug 23, 2009, 07:12 AM
Thought you might pick up on this.

About 300.000 of Polish Jews found asylum in Soviet occupation zone and survived.

Only until June 22, 1941. That not all Jews were killed (even Berlin wasn't Jew-free when the war ended) was due to Nazi inefficiency - not for lack of trying. At any rate most Jews were killed exactly in Poland; most Jews lived there under Nazi rule.

That the Russian armies should stand on this line was clearly necessary for the safety of Russia against the Nazi menace. At any rate, the line is there, and an Eastern front has been created which Nazi Germany does not dare assail. When Herr von Ribbentrop was summoned to Moscow last week it was to learn the fact, and to accept the fact, that the Nazi designs upon the Baltic States and upon the Ukraine must come to a dead stop.
W. Churchill, 1 October 1939.

Obviously Mr Churchill was unaware of the secret protocol of the pact at the time. At any rate a very unappropriate quote as June 22, 1941 proved that the only one who one time was the Third Reich.

He made no distinction - does it mean he did not see this as buying time for the war with Germany? Don't see logic.

Did you check the link to the 2nd article?

Exactly. Such principle was common for Britain, France and USSR - to redirect German aggression to the East (against USSR) and West, respectively.

The West was in no position to re-direct anything - Stalin was. No 'principle' was involved, BTW.

red_elk
Aug 23, 2009, 10:07 AM
Only until June 22, 1941. That not all Jews were killed (even Berlin wasn't Jew-free when the war ended) was due to Nazi inefficiency - not for lack of trying. At any rate most Jews were killed exactly in Poland; most Jews lived there under Nazi rule.
Author seem to claim that pact was a license for Holocaust - which is incorrect, to say at least. IMO, Western Allies who had to help Poland in war with Germany are much more to blame on the fact that Hitler occupied Poland and got away with this. In the same time, USSR was not bound to help Poland, as they rejected all Soviet offers to give them security guarantees.

Obviously Mr Churchill was unaware of the secret protocol of the pact at the time. At any rate a very unappropriate quote as June 22, 1941 proved that the only one who one time was the Third Reich.
The point is that he understood the reason for USSR to intervene in Poland - to restrict German occupation zone, to reincorporate Western Ukraine and Belorussia back to the USSR.
"Necessary for the safety of Russia against the Nazi menace". I think, Polish Jews would agree that it was not so bad.

Did you check the link to the 2nd article?
Yes. Still not sure what you meant, why it was not an attempt to buy time.

"the subsequent development of events after that would be unfavourable to the Soviet Union" - it means that European powers could eventually unite against USSR. Very unfavourable, I would say.

The West was in no position to re-direct anything - Stalin was. No 'principle' was involved, BTW.
What were the motives of Western Allies to sign Munich pact?
Why they did not attack Germany in September 1939, having great advantage in power? Despite they were obliged to, according to agreement with Poland.

Winner
Aug 23, 2009, 12:47 PM
Fun fact: my parents only learned that there was such a thing as M-R pact ofter the collapse of Communism in 1989 :) Commies were not big on educating people about Soviet blunders :lol:

innonimatu
Aug 23, 2009, 01:31 PM
Obviously Mr Churchill was unaware of the secret protocol of the pact at the time. At any rate a very unappropriate quote as June 22, 1941 proved that the only one who one time was the Third Reich.

I'm sure that Churchill, with the contacts which british intelligence had among the german diplomatic corps and in the Abwehr, was very much aware of the whole pact.

Concerning the effects of the pact on the "western leftists": the pact did cause some embarrassment to the western Communist Parties, but only on how to explain it to the rank-and-file which might not be aware of the strategic implications. The purpose of the pact and its usefulness was very well understood, and the belief that the Soviet Union would be the one nation capable of spreading communism along the world persisted on all western communist parties. Disillusionment would come only after the Hungarian Revolution.
And by then the western leftists were mostly communists, as the anarchists had only had real influence in Spain and been already destroyed (many would shape the French Resistance later, though) and the most of the newer "leftist currents" which we have today would emerge only in the 1960s.

Concerning the purpose of the pact: the USSR wanted to either cause the general collapse of the western governments, of failing that grab as much territory as possible to strengthen itself. Diverting german aggression westward was the best way to exploit the situation in Europe towards achieving any of those goals. The pact was secret not because of what western leftists might thing, but because of what the population in general on those western countries might think - Stalin understandably wanted to keep his diplomatic options open.
What really made it am embarrassment to the USSR was the trouncing the germans gave it in 1941 - so much for the plan of furthering international communism by exploiting western wars...

JEELEN
Aug 23, 2009, 04:17 PM
Author seem to claim that pact was a license for Holocaust - which is incorrect, to say at least. IMO, Western Allies who had to help Poland in war with Germany are much more to blame on the fact that Hitler occupied Poland and got away with this. In the same time, USSR was not bound to help Poland, as they rejected all Soviet offers to give them security guarantees.

Unlike the Baltic states - who got annexed as well. And indeed the pact de facto was a license for the subsequent Holocaust, as it doomed Poland as an independent nation (some earlier divisions come to mind here...) As said, most Jewish Holocaust victims were Polish citizens and the Poles were the first to experience Nazi 'subhuman' ideology in practice.

The point is that he understood the reason for USSR to intervene in Poland - to restrict German occupation zone, to reincorporate Western Ukraine and Belorussia back to the USSR.
"Necessary for the safety of Russia against the Nazi menace". I think, Polish Jews would agree that it was not so bad.

The only reason to 'intervene' in Poland was to get the share of Eastern Europe agreed in the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. In this light, Churchill was either unaware of the secret protocol or simply chose to ignore such a brilliant piece of propaganda. Though Churchill could be erratic, somehow this seems an unlikely scenario. As for Western Ukraine and Belorussia: those were only incorporated into the USSR after the war was over; as the USSR was officially founded in 1922, they never were a part of it before. (In fact, the Soviets ceased large parts of Eastern Russia to the German Reich in accordance with the armistice and the status quo at the end of hostilities with imperial Germany in WW I.)

Yes. Still not sure what you meant, why it was not an attempt to buy time.

It's not what I meant. But if Stalin was 'buying time' he wasted it thoroughly, provided Nazi Germany with ample support, mutual cooperation and intelligence (though this was largely wasted on the Nazis), in short made them apparently well prepared for Operation Barbarossa.

"the subsequent development of events after that would be unfavourable to the Soviet Union" - it means that European powers could eventually unite against USSR. Very unfavourable, I would say.

Yes and no: it means the events unfolding on and after June 22, 1941. That "European powers could eventually unite against USSR" may indeed be unfavourable, but that happened during the Civil War and after 1945; inbetween it was an impossibility, both military and politically.
I agree with your conclusion - which shows that both the USSR and the Western Allies completely misjudged Hitler (as did the German politicians that made the Machtergreifung possible). It seems that none of these gentlemen ever read - or took seriously - Mein Kampf (which already clearly outlined Hitler's intentions).

What were the motives of Western Allies to sign Munich pact?
Why they did not attack Germany in September 1939, having great advantage in power? Despite they were obliged to, according to agreement with Poland.

The Western Allies did not sign the Munich Treaty: Chamberlain did for the UK, Hitler (reluctantly, because he really wanted war) for Germany and Mussolini (who had other plans) for Italy. Why did they not attack? First, they were not mobilized; second, their strategy was defensive; third, they could not violate Belgium's neutrality - unlike Hitler and Stalin, who had no regard for such matters. Poland was well aware of the virtual impossibility of Western aid during the invasion of Poland; all the Allies could do was declare war. (Note, BTW, that they did not declare war on the USSR when it invaded 16 days later. Again, not a hint of prescience of the secret protocol here.)

sydhe
Aug 23, 2009, 04:23 PM
The European Parliament has called for 23 August to become a day of remembrance for all the victims of the totalitarian regimes - Hitler's and Stalin's. I rather like that. Better than the proposal a while back to turn May Day into an anti-communist holiday, which was an insult to labor movements. Maybe in a few years the UN can expand the August 23 remembrance and add Mao's and Pol Pot's victims.

frekk
Aug 23, 2009, 04:27 PM
The Western Allies did not sign the Munich Treaty: Chamberlain did for the UK, Hitler (reluctantly, because he really wanted war) for Germany and Mussolini (who had other plans) for Italy. Why did they not attack? First, they were not mobilized; second, their strategy was defensive; third, they could not violate Belgium's neutrality - unlike Hitler and Stalin, who had no regard for such matters. Poland was well aware of the virtual impossibility of Western aid during the invasion of Poland; all the Allies could do was declare war.

Poland didn't sign the Munich Agreement to appease Hitler. The Poles and the Germans had together presented military ultimatums to Czechoslovakia (in Poland's case, they wanted the Zaolzie territory back), and Poland was one of the parties to be appeased by the Agreement, alongside Germany and Hungary. Nor did the Munich Agreement broach the subject of the Danzig Corridor.

REDY
Aug 23, 2009, 04:33 PM
Also you forgot Daladier.

red_elk
Aug 23, 2009, 05:37 PM
Unlike the Baltic states - who got annexed as well. And indeed the pact de facto was a license for the subsequent Holocaust, as it doomed Poland as an independent nation (some earlier divisions come to mind here...) As said, most Jewish Holocaust victims were Polish citizens and the Poles were the first to experience Nazi 'subhuman' ideology in practice.
It was a licence for Holocaust much less than Allies' politics of pacifying Hitler and their agreements with Germany. Poland never considered USSR as friend and relied only on British and French support.

The only reason to 'intervene' in Poland was to get the share of Eastern Europe agreed in the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.
Technically yes, but all what Mr. Churchill said about that is still applied.

As for Western Ukraine and Belorussia: those were only incorporated into the USSR after the war was over; as the USSR was officially founded in 1922, they never were a part of it before. (In fact, the Soviets ceased large parts of Eastern Russia to the German Reich in accordance with the armistice and the status quo at the end of hostilities with imperial Germany in WW I.)
Doesn't matter - these territories were not Polish, they were Ukrainian and Belorussian parts of former Russian Empire.

It's not what I meant. But if Stalin was 'buying time' he wasted it thoroughly, provided Nazi Germany with ample support, mutual cooperation and intelligence (though this was largely wasted on the Nazis), in short made them apparently well prepared for Operation Barbarossa.
Stalin was actively preparing for war with Germany in 1939-1941.

The Western Allies did not sign the Munich Treaty: Chamberlain did for the UK, Hitler (reluctantly, because he really wanted war) for Germany and Mussolini (who had other plans) for Italy.
What you mean? Britain and France were not Western Allies?

Why did they not attack? First, they were not mobilized; second, their strategy was defensive; third, they could not violate Belgium's neutrality - unlike Hitler and Stalin, who had no regard for such matters. Poland was well aware of the virtual impossibility of Western aid during the invasion of Poland; all the Allies could do was declare war. (Note, BTW, that they did not declare war on the USSR when it invaded 16 days later. Again, not a hint of prescience of the secret protocol here.)

Totally wrong.
They were ready for war and had much more forces on German border than Germany had.
Power balance on German-French border in September 1939:
--------------------------Allies--------Germany
Divisions-------------------78------------44
Manpower (thousands)----3253----------1000
Artillery and mortars------17500----------8640
Tanks--------------------2850-----------0 (!)
Aircraft-------------------2421----------1359

Britain and France gave security guarantees to Poland, and they were obliged to help them militarily.
Polish plan of defence against Germany also assumed Allied strike from France.

JEELEN
Aug 24, 2009, 12:13 AM
Also you forgot Daladier.

Sorry about that...

It was a licence for Holocaust much less than Allies' politics of pacifying Hitler and their agreements with Germany. Poland never considered USSR as friend and relied only on British and French support.

Not 'much less'; it was the 2nd necessary component for Hitler's extremist ideas to become reality. And ofcourse, given Polish-Russian history, Poland had good reason not to rely on Russian 'support'. (Just like the Baltic countries, but they were too small to resist Soviet demands. Finland, again, would not cooperate and ofcourse the USSR simply invaded.)

Technically yes, but all what Mr. Churchill said about that is still applied.

Not really: Mr Churchill's September 1939 quote (if it's accurate) shows a remarkable lack of knowledge of the secret protocol. BTW, the fact that the protocol was secret had an obvious reason: it showed the betrayal of Poland's national integrity. As said, Stalin, like Hitler, had little regard for other nations' interests.

Doesn't matter - these territories were not Polish, they were Ukrainian and Belorussian parts of former Russian Empire.

So? The Russian empire died in the October Revolution.

Stalin was actively preparing for war with Germany in 1939-1941.

I'm guessing you're claiming the 1941 campaign showed a planned 'strategic withdrawal' all the way to Moscow? The reality is that Stalin didn't even believe Hitler had broken the pact and invaded the USSR when it happened. (Intelligence reports of imminent invasion were dismissed by him; military stragegists had pleaded for a more in-depth border defense, but Stalin flatly refused.)

What you mean? Britain and France were not Western Allies?

One word: Mussolini.

Totally wrong.
They were ready for war and had much more forces on German border than Germany had.
Power balance on German-French border in September 1939:
--------------------------Allies--------Germany
Divisions-------------------78------------44
Manpower (thousands)----3253----------1000
Artillery and mortars------17500----------8640
Tanks--------------------2850-----------0 (!)
Aircraft-------------------2421----------1359

Britain and France gave security guarantees to Poland, and they were bound to help them militarily.
Polish plan of defence against Germany also assumed Allied strike from France.

Then the Poles were as badly informed on Western policy as they were on Soviet policy. You forgot to mention anything about the Allied strategy, which was defensive. So those, however accurate, numbers have little meaning in the September 1939 situation. Also, Western policies, while increasing military spending, were still set on preserving peace. It's nice to collect statistical data, but historical reality constitutes more than that.

Lone Wolf
Aug 24, 2009, 01:59 AM
Then the Poles were as badly informed on Western policy as they were on Soviet policy.

France's reaction to the beginning of WWII was "we aren't ready to fight for Danzig". As it soon would be evident, they weren't ready to fight for Paris, too.

Dachs
Aug 24, 2009, 02:24 AM
France's reaction to the beginning of WWII was "we aren't ready to fight for Danzig". As it soon would be evident, they weren't ready to fight for Paris, too.
Iceburn. :lol:

red_elk
Aug 24, 2009, 09:40 AM
Not 'much less'; it was the 2nd necessary component for Hitler's extremist ideas to become reality. And ofcourse, given Polish-Russian history, Poland had good reason not to rely on Russian 'support'. (Just like the Baltic countries, but they were too small to resist Soviet demands. Finland, again, would not cooperate and ofcourse the USSR simply invaded.)
The article claims pact between USSR and Germany as license for Holocaust, in fact, blaming Stalin for Holocaust without mentioning all the other "heroes" who are probably more to blame on it. This is historically inaccurate and very much resembling propaganda articles.

Not really: Mr Churchill's September 1939 quote (if it's accurate) shows a remarkable lack of knowledge of the secret protocol. BTW, the fact that the protocol was secret had an obvious reason: it showed the betrayal of Poland's national integrity. As said, Stalin, like Hitler, had little regard for other nations' interests.
Look at the sentence I was replying to, quoting Churchill. Was there pragmatic necessity for the USSR to capture Western Ukraine and Belorussia? Churchill thought it was.
"...apologists for Stalin tried to rationalise his ideological turn-around"
It looks like now, Churchill became an apologist for Stalin :)

So? The Russian empire died in the October Revolution.
It had special "rebirth from ashes" ability.
Seriously, is it principal difference for you that country called USSR de-jure did not exist in 1920?
Soviet Russia, predecessor of USSR existed.

I'm guessing you're claiming the 1941 campaign showed a planned 'strategic withdrawal' all the way to Moscow? The reality is that Stalin didn't even believe Hitler had broken the pact and invaded the USSR when it happened. (Intelligence reports of imminent invasion were dismissed by him; military stragegists had pleaded for a more in-depth border defense, but Stalin flatly refused.)
Tell me, how do you think, why Stalin launched forced industrialization of USSR in 1930-s, and greatly increased its military and industrial might? As everybody else, he was preparing for war in Europe - with whom? With Poland may be?

One word: Mussolini.
So what? Did he frighten Chamberlain and Daladier (Western Allies representatives) so much that they could not refuse to sign this pact? Pact, which sold independent country, possessing serious military potential, to Hitler.

Then the Poles were as badly informed on Western policy as they were on Soviet policy. You forgot to mention anything about the Allied strategy, which was defensive. So those, however accurate, numbers have little meaning in the September 1939 situation. Also, Western policies, while increasing military spending, were still set on preserving peace. It's nice to collect statistical data, but historical reality constitutes more than that.
Allies (Britain and France) had given security guarantees to Poland. They had obligation to help Poland militarily, in case of German attack, and Poland relied on those agreements strongly.

How do you think, did Allies fully carried out their obligations, by declaring war to Germany and doing nothing else? Without even bombing Germany and without weapon deliveries to Poland, which they were asking for?
"Defensive strategy"... :rolleyes:

red_elk
Aug 24, 2009, 09:43 AM
Iceburn. :lol:
Dachs, what do you think about the article?

JEELEN
Aug 24, 2009, 11:53 AM
France's reaction to the beginning of WWII was "we aren't ready to fight for Danzig". As it soon would be evident, they weren't ready to fight for Paris, too.

That may be your personal opinion, but no historian will agree with you.

The article claims pact between USSR and Germany as license for Holocaust, in fact, blaming Stalin for Holocaust without mentioning all the other "heroes" who are probably more to blame on it. This is historically inaccurate and very much resembling propaganda articles.

Indeed. But it is a conclusion you make, which isn't in the article. Stalin isn't blamed for the Holocaust - althoug he can easily be blamed for lengthy interrogations of 300,000 Polish POWs in camps[121][122][122][123][124] that were, in effect, a selection process to determine who would be killed.[2] On March 5, 1940, in what would later be known as the Katyn massacre,[2][125][126] orders were signed to execute 25,700 Polish POWs, labeled "nationalists and counterrevolutionaries", kept at camps and prisons in occupied western Ukraine and Belarus.[127]


Look at the sentence I was replying to, quoting Churchill. Was there pragmatic necessity for the USSR to capture Western Ukraine and Belorussia? Churchill thought it was.
"...apologists for Stalin tried to rationalise his ideological turn-around"
It looks like now, Churchill became an apologist for Stalin

Although there were negotiations going on with France and the UK when the Nazi-Soviet pact was signed, such thoughts were not considered, obviously. At any rate, after the pact was signed, Stalin broke off negotiations with the Western Allies - he had what he wanted: carte blanche in Eastern Europe.

It had special "rebirth from ashes" ability.
Seriously, is it principal difference for you that country called USSR de-jure did not exist in 1920?
Soviet Russia, predecessor of USSR existed.

Seeing as there was a civil war going on from 1917 onwards, I fail to the relevance of your remark. One might also claim that White Russia existed until the end of the civil war. What's the point?

Tell me, how do you think, why Stalin launched forced industrialization of USSR in 1930-s, and greatly increased its military and industrial might? As everybody else, he was preparing for war in Europe - with whom? With Poland may be?

Indeed, and with Finland, apparently. But the Soviet industrialization was not to serve miltary expansion (although it obviously made it possible), but simply to modernize the country. BTW, you forgot to mention the collectivization program.

So what? Did he frighten Chamberlain and Daladier (Western Allies representatives) so much that they could not refuse to sign this pact? Pact, which sold independent country, possessing serious military potential, to Hitler.

Try googling for the Munich Treaty. That should provide a sufficient answer.

Allies (Britain and France) had given security guarantees to Poland. They had obligation to help Poland militarily, in case of German attack, and Poland relied on those agreements strongly.

How do you think, did Allies fully carried out their obligations, by declaring war to Germany and doing nothing else? Without even bombing Germany and without weapon deliveries to Poland, which they were asking for?
"Defensive strategy"...

Interesting that you should bring this up: the UK signed a guarantee for Poland after the Nazi-soviet pact, being full aware of the consequences for Poland, [s]urprising Hitler, Britain signed a mutual-assistance treaty with Poland that day, causing Hitler to delay the planned August 26 invasion of western Poland.[88]
I cannot answer for the military choices of the UK and French governments - but I reckon (since, as I repeatedly explained, their stratgey was defensive), it was deemed to risky, for whatever reason. As for weapons deliveries to Poland, how do you visualize that? Across the Reich? (The initial Allied bombings carried out later took a heavy toll in losses of planes and valuable pilots; especially the latter could not be easily replaced.)

Lone Wolf
Aug 24, 2009, 12:12 PM
That may be your personal opinion, but no historian will agree with you.

Yeah, these furious battles at the gates of Paris in 1940 are well known...

cubsfan6506
Aug 24, 2009, 12:13 PM
IMo the buying time aspect of the pack was wasted when germany ran through france in under a month.

red_elk
Aug 24, 2009, 01:07 PM
Indeed. But it is a conclusion you make, which isn't in the article. Stalin isn't blamed for the Holocaust - althoug he can easily be blamed for lengthy interrogations of 300,000 Polish POWs in camps[121][122][122][123][124] that were, in effect, a selection process to determine who would be killed.[2] On March 5, 1940, in what would later be known as the Katyn massacre,[2][125][126] orders were signed to execute 25,700 Polish POWs, labeled "nationalists and counterrevolutionaries", kept at camps and prisons in occupied western Ukraine and Belarus.[127]
Stalin was claimed in the article together with Hitler as person, whose decisions lead to Holocaust. In this case, Allied leaders (except, probably, FDR) must be mentioned too, as they shared responsibility with him.
As for Stalin's monstrosity and babies-eating skills, we can continue such discussion if you really want to, but I would prefer to do it in the separate thread. Let's keep this one pretending to be a historical discussion.

Although there were negotiations going on with France and the UK when the Nazi-Soviet pact was signed, such thoughts were not considered, obviously. At any rate, after the pact was signed, Stalin broke off negotiations with the Western Allies - he had what he wanted: carte blanche in Eastern Europe.
What? I don't understand your position, was there pragmatical reason for Stalin to occupy Eastern parts of Poland or not? According to Churchill, it was necessary for defence against Germany. According to author of the article, only Stalin's apologists can think like that. With whom you agree?

Seeing as there was a civil war going on from 1917 onwards, I fail to the relevance of your remark. One might also claim that White Russia existed until the end of the civil war. What's the point?
I don't know what you were trying to point out, saying that USSR did not exist in 1920. One might claim that Poland also ceased to exist in 2 weeks after German attack in 1939.

Indeed, and with Finland, apparently. But the Soviet industrialization was not to serve miltary expansion (although it obviously made it possible), but simply to modernize the country. BTW, you forgot to mention the collectivization program.
The point is that Stalin was actively increasing military potential of the country in ~1930-1941. Two additional years were not wasted.

Try googling for the Munich Treaty. That should provide a sufficient answer.
Did Western Allied leaders (namely, British and French) sign Munich Treaty, or not? Google says, they did. You said, they didn't. I'm confused. :confused:

Interesting that you should bring this up: the UK signed a guarantee for Poland after the Nazi-soviet pact, being full aware of the consequences for Poland, [s]urprising Hitler, Britain signed a mutual-assistance treaty with Poland that day, causing Hitler to delay the planned August 26 invasion of western Poland.[88]
I cannot answer for the military choices of the UK and French governments - but I reckon (since, as I repeatedly explained, their stratgey was defensive), it was deemed to risky, for whatever reason. As for weapons deliveries to Poland, how do you visualize that? Across the Reich? (The initial Allied bombings carried out later took a heavy toll in losses of planes and valuable pilots; especially the latter could not be easily replaced.)
Yes, they tried to save Poland diplomatically, and managed to delay German attack by 5 days, which saved Poland some time for mobilization. Weapons could be delivered through Romania - don't you think that Poland would ask for deliveries knowing that they were not possible?

What about my question?
Did Allies fully carried out their obligations for Poland in September 1939?

Dachs
Aug 24, 2009, 04:08 PM
Dachs, what do you think about the article?
I don't believe I've got as solid a grounding in the Second World War as most of you, not even the diplomatic history of the years preceding it, but from what I understand the pact was only made when the other option, of coming to a collective-security agreement with the Western Powers, was exhausted by the collapse of negotiations on 17 August 1939 over the issue of Soviet troops crossing Poland and Romania in order to engage Nazi and Nazi-allied armies. I have difficulty seeing what else Stalin could have done after that, and I think that the article doesn't really take that into account - with no settlement with the Western Powers, why should Stalin have gone to war with Germany anyway? They weren't going to let the Red Army cross into Poland to fight the Nazis, so if the Soviet Union fought at all it would be by itself, with the very probable enmity of both sides. Furthermore, I don't think that the notion of "buying time" can be so readily discredited by stating that the Soviet Union still wasn't totally ready when the Nazis did come crashing over the frontier in 1941. Weren't they still less prepared in 1939? Just because Stalin apparently failed to divine that the Nazis were going to attack in 1941 doesn't mean he wasn't planning to be prepared at a later date - the war in the west simply took up less of Hitler's time and resources than Stalin originally - in 1939 - calculated.

red_elk
Aug 24, 2009, 04:38 PM
I don't believe I've got as solid a grounding in the Second World War as most of you, not even the diplomatic history of the years preceding it, but from what I understand the pact was only made when the other option, of coming to a collective-security agreement with the Western Powers, was exhausted by the collapse of negotiations on 17 August 1939 over the issue of Soviet troops crossing Poland and Romania in order to engage Nazi and Nazi-allied armies. I have difficulty seeing what else Stalin could have done after that, and I think that the article doesn't really take that into account - with no settlement with the Western Powers, why should Stalin have gone to war with Germany anyway? They weren't going to let the Red Army cross into Poland to fight the Nazis, so if the Soviet Union fought at all it would be by itself, with the very probable enmity of both sides. Furthermore, I don't think that the notion of "buying time" can be so readily discredited by stating that the Soviet Union still wasn't totally ready when the Nazis did come crashing over the frontier in 1941. Weren't they still less prepared in 1939? Just because Stalin apparently failed to divine that the Nazis were going to attack in 1941 doesn't mean he wasn't planning to be prepared at a later date - the war in the west simply took up less of Hitler's time and resources than Stalin originally - in 1939 - calculated.

Agree.
Even if the USSR came to agreement with Allies, there was a possibility of fighting the Nazis alone, due to British and French so-called "defensive strategy". And obviously, USSR which was not fully prepared for war in 1941, in 1939 was less prepared for it.

frekk
Aug 24, 2009, 07:29 PM
You forgot to mention anything about the Allied strategy, which was defensive.

Not strictly. They were based on defensive ground actions, yes. But as a whole the Allied interwar strategy was on offensive one; the belief was that it was impossible (or at least far too costly) to make advances with ground forces, so instead, the enemy would be pummelled into oblivion by bomber fleets ("the bomber will always get through", as the quote goes - i.e. air forces will get through where land forces can't) and starved into submission by naval blockades, while his ground forces were simply held off. This isn't a defensive plan by any means.

Appeasement had little to do with the technical aspects of the military doctrine of the period, it has its roots in the society - which was determined to attempt to prevent a second European conflagration and avoid the terrible costs they associated with the previous one.

JEELEN
Aug 24, 2009, 09:05 PM
I think we were discussing military strategy in 1939-'40, not during the interbellum.

Yeah, these furious battles at the gates of Paris in 1940 are well known...

By the time German army units reached Paris the Allied strategy had already utterly failed following whihc the government fell and an armistice was signed by marshal Pétain. Again, what's your point?

Stalin was claimed in the article together with Hitler as person, whose decisions lead to Holocaust. In this case, Allied leaders (except, probably, FDR) must be mentioned too, as they shared responsibility with him.
As for Stalin's monstrosity and babies-eating skills, we can continue such discussion if you really want to, but I would prefer to do it in the separate thread. Let's keep this one pretending to be a historical discussion.

No: the Nazi-Soviet pact created the conditions for the subsequent Holocaust. And keep your anti-Soviet conspiracy ideas off this thread please.

What? I don't understand your position, was there pragmatical reason for Stalin to occupy Eastern parts of Poland or not? According to Churchill, it was necessary for defence against Germany. According to author of the article, only Stalin's apologists can think like that. With whom you agree?

Churchill's thoughts had little effect on Stalin's frame of mind. If such occupations (plural) were 'necessary'for the defense of the Motherland, why then did it almost collapse two years later? Your reasoning is simply flawd: Stalin's forward defense made precisely possible the huge losses during the opening phase of Operation Barbarossa, which would have been impossible with a more in-depth defense as proposed by his won military strategists.

I don't know what you were trying to point out, saying that USSR did not exist in 1920. One might claim that Poland also ceased to exist in 2 weeks after German attack in 1939.

So? You were referring to pre-Soviet territorial claims.


The point is that Stalin was actively increasing military potential of the country in ~1930-1941. Two additional years were not wasted.

And simultaneously destroying by decimating the officer class. What are you saying, this was another part of Stalin's genius masterplan?

Did Western Allied leaders (namely, British and French) sign Munich Treaty, or not? Google says, they did. You said, they didn't. I'm confused. :confused:

I see you are confused: I did not claim UK and France did not sign the Munich Agreement. (Just read back my post.)

Yes, they tried to save Poland diplomatically, and managed to delay German attack by 5 days, which saved Poland some time for mobilization. Weapons could be delivered through Romania - don't you think that Poland would ask for deliveries knowing that they were not possible?

What about my question?
Did Allies fully carried out their obligations for Poland in September 1939?

Interesting theoretical possibilty: Allied weapon transports through Rumania. It was a neutral country (until 1940, when it joined the Axis).

As for your question, I think, like Soviet-Russia, the Western Allies gave more weight to their own than their Allied interests. Given the fact that neither country had as yet mobilized, I don't see how any action - if indeed it could have been undertaken - could have saved Poland after the Nazi-Soviet pact to divide it, do you?

I don't believe I've got as solid a grounding in the Second World War as most of you, not even the diplomatic history of the years preceding it, but from what I understand the pact was only made when the other option, of coming to a collective-security agreement with the Western Powers, was exhausted by the collapse of negotiations on 17 August 1939 over the issue of Soviet troops crossing Poland and Romania in order to engage Nazi and Nazi-allied armies. I have difficulty seeing what else Stalin could have done after that, and I think that the article doesn't really take that into account - with no settlement with the Western Powers, why should Stalin have gone to war with Germany anyway? They weren't going to let the Red Army cross into Poland to fight the Nazis, so if the Soviet Union fought at all it would be by itself, with the very probable enmity of both sides. Furthermore, I don't think that the notion of "buying time" can be so readily discredited by stating that the Soviet Union still wasn't totally ready when the Nazis did come crashing over the frontier in 1941. Weren't they still less prepared in 1939? Just because Stalin apparently failed to divine that the Nazis were going to attack in 1941 doesn't mean he wasn't planning to be prepared at a later date - the war in the west simply took up less of Hitler's time and resources than Stalin originally - in 1939 - calculated.

As posted earlier, the UK and France were still in full negotiation with the USSR - or so they thought - when the pact was made public. Also, in 1939 Germany wasn't even ready for war (military strategy assumed war might break out in 1941-'42 at the earliest. Also not taken into account is the fact that the USSR only fought Nazi Germany when attacked itself (and once again, this attack came as a total surprise to the Soviet dictator). IMO, the idea that the USSR could have joined the Allies as early as 1939 is as ephemeral as the idea that peace could be preserved with Hitler in power. Ofcourse it is difficult to account for the mental state of a Hitler - and to plan future actions based on it -, but given the state of the Red Army in 1939 any conflict with a major power should be avoided (and again, this makes a 1939 Soviet Ally highly improbable). A pact with the nearest power (i.e. Germany) gave Stalin a free hand in much of Eastern Europe; this seems - to me at least - the motive behind Stalin's smile when the pact was signed. There simply was a mutual interest between both powers to avoid war in 1939.

red_elk
Aug 24, 2009, 10:32 PM
No: the Nazi-Soviet pact created the conditions for the subsequent Holocaust. And keep your anti-Soviet conspiracy ideas off this thread please.
Created conditions - no more than Munich treaty and appeasement politics.
Which conspiracy ideas?

Churchill's thoughts had little effect on Stalin's frame of mind. If such occupations (plural) were 'necessary'for the defense of the Motherland, why then did it almost collapse two years later? Your reasoning is simply flawd: Stalin's forward defense made precisely possible the huge losses during the opening phase of Operation Barbarossa, which would have been impossible with a more in-depth defense as proposed by his won military strategists.
Don't want to answer? Ok.
The military value of those territories is even out of discussion. Just look what happened to France who had no place to retreat, and where and when German forces were stopped under Moscow.

So? You were referring to pre-Soviet territorial claims.
I said "to reincorporate Western Ukraine and Belorussia back to the USSR". The word "USSR" makes you restless? Replace it with "Soviet state", "Russia" or whatever you want.

And simultaneously destroying by decimating the officer class. What are you saying, this was another part of Stalin's genius masterplan?
Which were the years of the Great Purge in USSR?
Do you deny that USSR was preparing for war in 1939-1941?

I see you are confused: I did not claim UK and France did not sign the Munich Agreement. (Just read back my post.)
red_elk: What were the motives of Western Allies to sign Munich pact?
JEELEN: The Western Allies did not sign the Munich Treaty
red_elk: What you mean? Britain and France were not Western Allies?
JEELEN: One word: Mussolini.
...
JEELEN: I did not claim UK and France did not sign the Munich Agreement.
Explain?

Interesting theoretical possibilty: Allied weapon transports through Rumania. It was a neutral country (until 1940, when it joined the Axis).
Very interesting, especially considering the fact that Polish government, army and remaining air forces were evacuated from Poland through Romania and Hungary.

As for your question, I think, like Soviet-Russia, the Western Allies gave more weight to their own than their Allied interests. Given the fact that neither country had as yet mobilized, I don't see how any action - if indeed it could have been undertaken - could have saved Poland after the Nazi-Soviet pact to divide it, do you?
Any noticeable action of Allies, or even imitation of such action would prevent Stalin from intervention in Poland. See Saarbrücken "advance" for example.
Any bombing of German territory or forces in Poland would help Polish army.
Any considerable naval operation would help them too.
Not only land advance - even artillery shelling on Western border was not undertaken.
Mobilization? Great, they were waiting for mobilization having 3 times more forces... when half of German army was finishing off Poland.
Brilliant defensive strategy. May be they have some other reasons not to attack?

JEELEN
Aug 25, 2009, 12:57 AM
Created conditions - no more than Munich treaty and appeasement politics.
Which conspiracy ideas?

Let's stay on topic, shall we?

Don't want to answer? Ok.
The military value of those territories is even out of discussion. Just look what happened to France who had no place to retreat, and where and when German forces were stopped under Moscow.

Are you now ignoring my answer again? Care to explain?

I said "to reincorporate Western Ukraine and Belorussia back to the USSR". The word "USSR" makes you restless? Replace it with "Soviet state", "Russia" or whatever you want.

Areas that never were a part of the USSR can't be reincorporated. Get your facts straight.

Which were the years of the Great Purge in USSR?
Do you deny that USSR was preparing for war in 1939-1941?

Indeed I do. The first war the Red Army entered when the Western Front as quiet, cost them huge losses against a tiny army: the Winter War with Finland, the only country that did not give in to Soviet demands. (And how does this relate to the need to prepare for war with Germany?)

red_elk: What were the motives of Western Allies to sign Munich pact?
JEELEN: The Western Allies did not sign the Munich Treaty
red_elk: What you mean? Britain and France were not Western Allies?
JEELEN: One word: Mussolini.
...
JEELEN: I did not claim UK and France did not sign the Munich Agreement.
Explain?

The "Western Allies" did not exist in 1938; they only came into effect when the UK and France declared war on Germany folowing the refusal to meet the ultimatum to withdraw from Polish territory. That's why I talk about UK and France in pre-war conditions. "The Western Allies" means different things in 1939, 1940, 1941 and thereafter.

Very interesting, especially considering the fact that Polish government, army and remaining air forces were evacuated from Poland through Romania and Hungary.

I would say they had no other choice, wouldn't you? Evacuating defeated military forces isn't quit the same as channelling military supplies into a warzone. (And even for allowing the evacuation Rumania paid deerly, as it was forced under first Soviet and subsequently Hungarian, Bulgarian, Italian and German pressure to surrender parts of the kingdom to foreign rule.)

Any noticeable action of Allies, or even imitation of such action would prevent Stalin from intervention in Poland. See Saarbrücken "advance" for example.
Any bombing of German territory or forces in Poland would help Polish army.
Any considerable naval operation would help them too.
Not only land advance - even artillery shelling on Western border was not undertaken.
Mobilization? Great, they were waiting for mobilization having 3 times more forces... when half of German army was finishing off Poland.
Brilliant defensive strategy. May be they have some other reasons not to attack?

I'm not denying the Allies did nothing of substance between September 1939 and the Reich's invasion of Norway the following year. I don't agree with such a "defensive strategy" at all and it proved to be utterly flawd. But I fail to see how any military action by the Allies might provoke Stalin to ignore the just signed pact with Germany; that makes no sense at all.

Dachs
Aug 25, 2009, 02:47 AM
As posted earlier, the UK and France were still in full negotiation with the USSR - or so they thought - when the pact was made public.
Source it. I have no great in depth knowledge of the period, like I said, but Williamson's The Age of the Dictators and Roberts' Stalin's Wars both indicate that the USSR suspended negotiations with the French and British on the twenty-first.
Also, in 1939 Germany wasn't even ready for war (military strategy assumed war might break out in 1941-'42 at the earliest.
If they weren't ready for war, they did a damned fine job of hiding it. Stalin was likely unaware of the full extent of the German military preparations.
Also not taken into account is the fact that the USSR only fought Nazi Germany when attacked itself (and once again, this attack came as a total surprise to the Soviet dictator). IMO, the idea that the USSR could have joined the Allies as early as 1939 is as ephemeral as the idea that peace could be preserved with Hitler in power. Ofcourse it is difficult to account for the mental state of a Hitler - and to plan future actions based on it -, but given the state of the Red Army in 1939 any conflict with a major power should be avoided (and again, this makes a 1939 Soviet Ally highly improbable). A pact with the nearest power (i.e. Germany) gave Stalin a free hand in much of Eastern Europe; this seems - to me at least - the motive behind Stalin's smile when the pact was signed. There simply was a mutual interest between both powers to avoid war in 1939.
So, ah, how does any of this contradict what I said?

REDY
Aug 25, 2009, 04:07 AM
Creating and prolonging boarders with Germany by occuping neutral Baltics, annexing parts of neutral Poland, Romania and Finland and therefore turning neighbouring countries/people hostile to axis camp, losing 2k tanks and more than 400k soldiers(killed or wounded) and supplying Germany with material crucial for continuing in war was definately buying time. :goodjob:
Note that I am not making point that Stalin didnt want attack Axis one time.
Note that I am not making deportations/terror/allowing German expansionism point.

red_elk
Aug 25, 2009, 09:47 AM
Are you now ignoring my answer again? Care to explain?
My question was:
Was there pragmatical reason for Stalin to occupy Eastern parts of Poland or not? According to Churchill, it was necessary for defence against Germany. According to author of the article, only Stalin's apologists can think like that. With whom you agree?

Your answer:
Churchill's thoughts had little effect on Stalin's frame of mind. If such occupations (plural) were 'necessary'for the defense of the Motherland, why then did it almost collapse two years later?

"Almost collapsed" - the keyword is "almost".
France collapsed after German attack - according to your logic, building the Maginot Line was not a defensive measure.

Areas that never were a part of the USSR can't be reincorporated. Get your facts straight.
They were part of the same country with the same Soviet government. Country called "Soviet Russia" in 1920.
The same way you can deny that France reincorporated Alsace-Lorraine after WW1, basing on the fact that it was "Second Empire" when it lost them, and "Third republic" when it took them back.

Indeed I do. The first war the Red Army entered when the Western Front as quiet, cost them huge losses against a tiny army: the Winter War with Finland, the only country that did not give in to Soviet demands. (And how does this relate to the need to prepare for war with Germany?)
Check Soviet pre-war demands to Finland and results of Moscow treaty. It looks like you don't know much about them, if you are asking how it was related to prepare for war.
Check Soviet army buildup between 1939-1941. You don't know very basic facts if you are denying that it was considerably improved in this period.

The "Western Allies" did not exist in 1938; they only came into effect when the UK and France declared war on Germany folowing the refusal to meet the ultimatum to withdraw from Polish territory. That's why I talk about UK and France in pre-war conditions. "The Western Allies" means different things in 1939, 1940, 1941 and thereafter.
:goodjob:
Oh I see - that's what you meant saying something about Mussolini and "forgetting" to mention Daladier.
Strange that you yourself called pre-war France and Britain "Western Allies" in other cases:
JEELEN: "At any rate, after the pact was signed, Stalin broke off negotiations with the Western Allies"
Nevermind, I got you :)

Still the question remains open:
What were the reasons for Western Allies (France and Britain), to sign the Munich pact?
Last time you answered that they didn't sign it.

I'm not denying the Allies did nothing of substance between September 1939 and the Reich's invasion of Norway the following year. I don't agree with such a "defensive strategy" at all and it proved to be utterly flawd. But I fail to see how any military action by the Allies might provoke Stalin to ignore the just signed pact with Germany; that makes no sense at all.
Ok, at least you agree that they indeed do almost nothing to help Poland and de-facto violated agreement with them. For the second your question, I can't give you an English source, but many related materials, including German-Soviet diplomatic correspondence, are declassified. Stalin would intervene only after collapse of Polish organized resistance, and escape of Polish government. Any military action of Allies showing that they are really going to protect Poland would prevent Stalin from intervention, because for USSR it would mean war against France and Britain. And Soviet inactivity would not be a violation of M-R pact, as USSR didn't promise to attack Poland.

red_elk
Aug 25, 2009, 09:55 AM
Creating and prolonging boarders with Germany by occuping neutral Baltics, annexing parts of neutral Poland, Romania and Finland and therefore turning neighbouring countries/people hostile to axis camp, losing 2k tanks and more than 400k soldiers(killed or wounded) and supplying Germany with material crucial for continuing in war was definately buying time. :goodjob:
Note that I am not making point that Stalin didnt want attack Axis one time.
Note that I am not making deportations/terror/allowing German expansionism point.
Hungary, and Romania didn't have much choice, no matter of Soviet actions.
As for Finland - yes, it was so much friendly to USSR before 1939 :crazyeye:
I suggest you to read about pre-war Soviet-Finnish diplomacy, and what actions, Soviet and Finnish, lead to Winter War.
English wiki sometimes tends to "forget" about some interesting facts.

REDY
Aug 25, 2009, 12:21 PM
Hungary, and Romania didn't have much choice, no matter of Soviet actions.
As for Finland - yes, it was so much friendly to USSR before 1939 :crazyeye:
I suggest you to read about pre-war Soviet-Finnish diplomacy, and what actions, Soviet and Finnish, lead to Winter War.
English wiki sometimes tends to "forget" about some interesting facts.
USSR had horrible reputation in whole world. I said neutral, not friendly.
Bring me some facts about intentions of neighbours to make agression againist USSR.

red_elk
Aug 25, 2009, 12:47 PM
USSR had horrible reputation in whole world.
Oh, yes - the whole world hated the evil communistic empire.
Bring me some facts about intentions of neighbours to make agression againist USSR.
What?
Why should I prove the facts which I did not claim?
Seriously, read something about Soviet diplomacy in pre-war years.

REDY
Aug 25, 2009, 04:10 PM
Oh, yes - the whole world hated the evil communistic empire.
Irony doesnt waste point.


What?
Why should I prove the facts which I did not claim?
Seriously, read something about Soviet diplomacy in pre-war years.
I should repost my original post if needed and your reaction. If you would just say that USSR needed some battle experience and prolonging front was good strategy how soviet tanks should encircle Germans, OK. But from your reaction I took (besides some Hungary/unfriendly finland/education parts) that you consider that your neighbours would be German allies in war with you anyway. What is IMHO very unlikely but should be valid reason. With some sources.

Yeekim
Aug 25, 2009, 04:32 PM
I don't believe I've got as solid a grounding in the Second World War as most of you, not even the diplomatic history of the years preceding it, but from what I understand the pact was only made when the other option, of coming to a collective-security agreement with the Western Powers, was exhausted by the collapse of negotiations on 17 August 1939 over the issue of Soviet troops crossing Poland and Romania in order to engage Nazi and Nazi-allied armies. I have difficulty seeing what else Stalin could have done after that, and I think that the article doesn't really take that into account - with no settlement with the Western Powers, why should Stalin have gone to war with Germany anyway? They weren't going to let the Red Army cross into Poland to fight the Nazis, so if the Soviet Union fought at all it would be by itself, with the very probable enmity of both sides.

I am quite convinced that the negotiations collapsed not least because Stalin wanted them to collapse. Thus he demanded something totally unnecessary - namely pre-emptive access ("corridor") to Poland and military bases therein - knowing that Poles will never agree with it (and for a good reason). If Stalin was really interested in preserving of peace and general status quo, all he needed to do was to agree upon extending USSR's "guarantee" to Polish independence the same way that British and French did. Germany attacks Poland? Well, USSR declares war on him, after Allies do. USSR embargoes Germany after Allies do. USSR fortifies its borders, and if Allies are willing to commit their armies into military operation against Germany, so then does USSR. USSR lets Poles do their fighting on their own territory, if they do not want them there, but does not stab them into back, but helps them with supplies, intelligence etc. And if they want Soviet planes to lend air support, or a tank squadron to help with defending Warsaw, this can be negotiated too.
Poland was a wall, a gate between Germany and USSR. If you want to keep your enemy away, you do not tear this wall down, you help to reinforce it. Germany would have gotten nowhere without massive amounts of Soviet supplies and raw materials, provided to them according to German-USSR trade agreements which followed the pact.

EDIT 2: Stalin was able to send all kind of stuff - up to hundreds of tanks - into Spain. I am quite sure he would have been able to support Poland without no damn "corridor", had he really wanted to.
Furthermore, I don't think that the notion of "buying time" can be so readily discredited by stating that the Soviet Union still wasn't totally ready when the Nazis did come crashing over the frontier in 1941. Weren't they still less prepared in 1939? Just because Stalin apparently failed to divine that the Nazis were going to attack in 1941 doesn't mean he wasn't planning to be prepared at a later date - the war in the west simply took up less of Hitler's time and resources than Stalin originally - in 1939 - calculated.
Levels of preparedness can not be assessed in absolute terms, but only relative to each other. USSR was more ready than Germany in 1941. I am quite sure they were more ready in 1939 as well.

EDIT: And totally off-topic, but don't you people want to take a look at my history quiz in another thread? Especially for Dachs and red_elk. There are two questions connected with Germany and Russia respectively, which are thus far unanswered. I'd like to see whether you can crack them :)

red_elk
Aug 25, 2009, 05:27 PM
Yeekim, Poland refused to sign any security agreement which had Soviet signature. It was not about right of passage only.

I should repost my original post if needed and your reaction. If you would just say that USSR needed some battle experience and prolonging front was good strategy how soviet tanks should encircle Germans, OK. But from your reaction I took (besides some Hungary/unfriendly finland/education parts) that you consider that your neighbours would be German allies in war with you anyway. What is IMHO very unlikely but should be valid reason. With some sources.
My point was that Finland and USSR already had bad relations before 1939 and knowing that they already had a few wars in XX century, it's not unreasonable to suppose it will join Nazi aggression. The other point is Finnish refusal of Soviet offer (in 1938) to extent their non-aggression pact so that it will be impossible for 3-rd countries to use territories of one country in aggression against another.

Source - any historical work related to the Soviet-Finnish relations in 1930-s. I can give you a link to some paperbooks in Russian, if it will help.
I'll try to find some references in English wiki.

Irony doesnt waste point.
"USSR had horrible reputation in whole world" is an elementary school level of understanding, sorry.

Dachs
Aug 25, 2009, 06:30 PM
[long post]
Like I said, I'm not an expert on this by any stretch, and I don't know much more about the tripartite negotiations than what I've read in books that aren't diplomatic histories of the period, or about the 'level of readiness' of any of the powers during the same time period. So I can't really answer for Stalin's possible motives, or the nitty-gritty of why the negotiations collapsed. But I think the wall analogy is kind of silly - the USSR wasn't going to tell the Poles that they have to allow the Germans the same rights as the Red Army got in terms of bases and right of passage!

About the quiz, well, I'm not so good at quizzes :3 but I'll take a look at it in a bit.

Yeekim
Aug 25, 2009, 08:34 PM
Yeekim, Poland refused to sign any security agreement which had Soviet signature. It was not about right of passage only.
That stretches my imagination, to be honest. Did they really state this and was a draft without this condition ever actually discussed?

Btw, thank you for partaking in the quiz. Nice to see that for someone familiar with Russian history the question was still solvable.:)

red_elk
Aug 25, 2009, 09:02 PM
That stretches my imagination, to be honest. Did they really state this and was a draft without this condition ever actually discussed?
Well, I probably oversimplified - at least they refused several such offers just because USSR was going to participate in agreement.
I took it from here (http://militera.lib.ru/research/meltyukhov/02.html), in particular:
Это сообщение подтолкнуло Англию к активизации своей политики в Восточной Европе, и 18 марта она запросила СССР [62] о его действиях в случае германского удара по Румынии. Аналогичные запросы были посланы Польше, Греции, Югославии и Турции. В свою очередь эти страны запросили Англию о ее намерениях, а СССР предложил созвать конференцию с участием СССР, Англии, Франции, Польши, Румынии и Турции для обсуждения ситуации. 21 марта Англия выдвинула контрпредложение о подписании англо-франко-советско-польской декларации о консультациях в случае агрессии.
...
Обсуждение вопроса о предложенной Лондоном декларации выявило, что Польша и Румыния не хотят подписывать документ, если под ним будет стоять подпись советского представителя. В свою очередь Москва, опасаясь толкнуть Варшаву в объятия Берлина, не собиралась подписывать этот документ без участия Польши{57}. Англия столкнулась с проблемой, как обеспечить привлечение СССР к решению вопросов европейской политики, что ранее неизменно отвергалось ею, в условиях, когда многие страны, чье мнение Лондон старался учитывать, не одобряли заигрывания с Москвой.
8 мая в Москву поступил английский ответ на советское предложение трехстороннего пакта, в котором СССР предлагалось помочь Англии и Франции, если они вступят в войну в силу взятых на себя обязательств в отношении Польши и Румынии. Английское руководство в оценке советского предложения исходило из того, что союз с СССР перекрыл бы путь к англо-германской договоренности, что могло привести к войне, а этого Лондон стремился избежать, поэтому английское предложение [67] не содержало упоминаний о помощи Москве. 9—10 мая в ответ на советские предложения Польша заявила, что не пойдет на союз с Москвой{83}.
So, no, they didn't state such position openly - it would not be a diplomatic language - but in fact maintained it.
Btw, thank you for partaking in the quiz. Nice to see that for someone familiar with Russian history the question was still solvable.:)
I'm not good in world history quizes, in general - except probably some periods of Russian history. At least, the question number 17 had to be answered :)

red_elk
Aug 25, 2009, 09:48 PM
Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and Stalin’s Curtsey

Joseph Stalin’s curtsey on the occasion of signing the Non-Aggression Pact between the USSR and Germany in the Moscow Kremlin on the 23d of August 1939 was not envisaged by protocol but is historical evidence. The then Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov, who signed what became widely known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, told his grandson about the curtsey. Molotov’s grandson, member of the Public Chamber under the Russian President Vyacheslav Nikonov has told the story to the Voice of Russia. Just what prompted the Soviet leader to act so unpredictably to sort of draw the fire upon himself is explained by the details of the intrigue as set forth by Vyacheslav Nikonov.

At times, Vyacheslav Nikonov says, it was hard to stick to protocol. For example, during the reception in the wake of signing the Non-Aggression Pact German Foreign Minister Joachim Ribbentrop threw up his arm in the Nazi salute and said: “Heil, Hitler!”, and was expecting some kind of reaction from the Soviet leaders. The reaction was altogether unusual. Following a brief period of confusion Stalin made a curtsey and everybody laughed. Vyacheslav Nikonov says that his grandfather told him that Ribbentrop praised the Soviet Champagne he was served. It was quite a compliment, since Ribbentrop was both a connoisseur and producer of Champagne wines.
http://english.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=50143&cid=59&p=22.08.2009&pn=1

JEELEN
Aug 26, 2009, 02:24 AM
Interesting detail there. Indeed Ribbentrop could behave quite undiplomatically; he was formerly posted in the UK and managed to make a fool of himself in society there...

My question was:
Was there pragmatical reason for Stalin to occupy Eastern parts of Poland or not? According to Churchill, it was necessary for defence against Germany. According to author of the article, only Stalin's apologists can think like that. With whom you agree?

Your answer:
Churchill's thoughts had little effect on Stalin's frame of mind. If such occupations (plural) were 'necessary'for the defense of the Motherland, why then did it almost collapse two years later?

"Almost collapsed" - the keyword is "almost".
France collapsed after German attack - according to your logic, building the Maginot Line was not a defensive measure.

Again, that doesn't follow. But in practice the whole Maginot line was a very costly and inadequate defensive measure, as it was both bypassed and in places penetrated by German advances during the 1940 campaign.

They were part of the same country with the same Soviet government. Country called "Soviet Russia" in 1920.
The same way you can deny that France reincorporated Alsace-Lorraine after WW1, basing on the fact that it was "Second Empire" when it lost them, and "Third republic" when it took them back.

Also doesn't follow; by your reasoning then today's Russia may lay claim to Alaska, which, as said territories, was given away by the then government of Russia.

Check Soviet pre-war demands to Finland and results of Moscow treaty. It looks like you don't know much about them, if you are asking how it was related to prepare for war.
Check Soviet army buildup between 1939-1941. You don't know very basic facts if you are denying that it was considerably improved in this period.

Your insinuation doesn't hold. But to sum up a previous question: Soviet Russia's territorial demands on independent countries were certainly not defensive measures. They were pure and simple power politics, i.e. expansionism. They were also seriously miscalculated, as all territories gained in 1939-'40 were lost in 1941 - not to mention they antagonized both the governments and the people of those countries, all of which have regained independence since then (including Ukraine and Belorus).

:goodjob:
Oh I see - that's what you meant saying something about Mussolini and "forgetting" to mention Daladier.
Strange that you yourself called pre-war France and Britain "Western Allies" in other cases:
JEELEN: "At any rate, after the pact was signed, Stalin broke off negotiations with the Western Allies"
Nevermind, I got you :)

Still the question remains open:
What were the reasons for Western Allies (France and Britain), to sign the Munich pact?
Last time you answered that they didn't sign it.

I already apologized for forgetting Daladier. And you still do not seem to understand my explanation: when Stalin broke off negotiations, war had been declared so the Alliance was in effect; previously it was not. For someone so versed in detail, I fail to see why you do not understand the reasons for the Munich Agreement: apart from territorial gains for Germany (and Poland), the UK and France still held to a, admittedly decrepit, appeasement policy, while preparing for war. (All major powers were, but none were ready in September 1939, when war did break out.)

Ok, at least you agree that they indeed do almost nothing to help Poland and de-facto violated agreement with them. For the second your question, I can't give you an English source, but many related materials, including German-Soviet diplomatic correspondence, are declassified. Stalin would intervene only after collapse of Polish organized resistance, and escape of Polish government. Any military action of Allies showing that they are really going to protect Poland would prevent Stalin from intervention, because for USSR it would mean war against France and Britain. And Soviet inactivity would not be a violation of M-R pact, as USSR didn't promise to attack Poland.

Excuse me? How do you see the USSR occupying their assigned Polish territory without actually invading? That's beyond naive... And the Allies did not de facto violate anything: Polish borders were guaranteed by both the UK and France; obviously this was mostly a symbolical guarantee, as in the event of an actual invasion, both nations were in no position to prevent the collapse of Poland's national integrity. Possibly they could have sent supplies, prolonging the inevitable, but with the Molotiv-Ribbentrop pact in effect, no power could have realistically prevented the collapse of Polish defenses.

"USSR had horrible reputation in whole world" is an elementary school level of understanding, sorry.

It is perfectly accurate - or have you forgotten about the Civil War and foreign interventions? Communism today still has a horrible reputation.

REDY
Aug 26, 2009, 04:08 AM
My point was that Finland and USSR already had bad relations before 1939 and knowing that they already had a few wars in XX century, it's not unreasonable to suppose it will join Nazi aggression. The other point is Finnish refusal of Soviet offer (in 1938) to extent their non-aggression pact so that it will be impossible for 3-rd countries to use territories of one country in aggression against another.

Few wars? Do you mean civil wars?
Unlike USSR, Poland or Baltics, Finns refused sign non-agression pact with Germans and were trying get alliance with Sweden and Estonia. In 1939 USSR also had much stronger diplomatic position since M-P pact and collapsing collective security. They should restart talks about extension of non-agression pact than making another land claim. When study of sources persuaded you to believe that Soviets believed that Finland would join Germany in war, do you have some quote from its representatives for support this thesis?
What about other european neighbours? Poland, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia? It seem that they had also every reason to stand neutral, Romania and Lithuania would have chance for territories (Transylvania, Constanta/Memel)only if Axis would be defeated(though in Lithuania case it would possibly lead to losing of another territories). Baltic states and Poland had non-agression pacts with USSR. Germans in 1939 started diplomatic offense to ensure that Scandinavia and Baltics will not join allies.

red_elk
Aug 26, 2009, 10:01 AM
Interesting detail there. Indeed Ribbentrop could behave quite undiplomatically; he was formerly posted in the UK and managed to make a fool of himself in society there...
If you have link or something, it would be interesting to see the other similar funny facts.

Also doesn't follow; by your reasoning then today's Russia may lay claim to Alaska, which, as said territories, was given away by the then government of Russia.
Russia can't claim Alaska today and it couldn't in XIX century either.
But if Alaska was forcefully taken from Russia and recaptured back 19 years later, I would call it reincorporation (or liberation, depending on details). No matter on what name Russian state will have - Russian Empire, Soviet Union or Elven Kingdom.

Again, that doesn't follow. But in practice the whole Maginot line was a very costly and inadequate defensive measure, as it was both bypassed and in places penetrated by German advances during the 1940 campaign.

Your insinuation doesn't hold. But to sum up a previous question: Soviet Russia's territorial demands on independent countries were certainly not defensive measures. They were pure and simple power politics, i.e. expansionism. They were also seriously miscalculated, as all territories gained in 1939-'40 were lost in 1941 - not to mention they antagonized both the governments and the people of those countries, all of which have regained independence since then (including Ukraine and Belorus).
Power politics, expansionism and defensive measures are not mutually exclusive. Your claim that it were not defensive measures was only backed up with the fact of quick German advance through Soviet territory ni 1941. It only proves the limited effectiveness of those defensive measures, and still, unlike France, USSR managed to defeat Germany.

Excuse me? How do you see the USSR occupying their assigned Polish territory without actually invading? That's beyond naive...
Interesting question. I said, Allies could easily prevent Soviet intervention - but where I said that USSR will occupy Polish territory in that case?
Hitler could be quite easily defeated in 1939-1940 by means of 3 countries: Britain, France and Poland. Without moving Eastern Polish border and without violation of M-R pact. Poles would be delighted. Russians would be delighted too - we don't need territories for the cost of more than twenty millions of people.

And the Allies did not de facto violate anything: Polish borders were guaranteed by both the UK and France; obviously this was mostly a symbolical guarantee, as in the event of an actual invasion, both nations were in no position to prevent the collapse of Poland's national integrity. Possibly they could have sent supplies, prolonging the inevitable, but with the Molotiv-Ribbentrop pact in effect, no power could have realistically prevented the collapse of Polish defenses.
They had agreement with Poland to help them in case of German attack - and they did not. How this is not violation?

red_elk
Aug 26, 2009, 10:40 AM
Few wars? Do you mean civil wars?
Unlike USSR, Poland or Baltics, Finns refused sign non-agression pact with Germans and were trying get alliance with Sweden and Estonia. In 1939 USSR also had much stronger diplomatic position since M-P pact and collapsing collective security. They should restart talks about extension of non-agression pact than making another land claim. When study of sources persuaded you to believe that Soviets believed that Finland would join Germany in war, do you have some quote from its representatives for support this thesis?

Ok. I can't translate you whole chapters from books, here are just a few facts, from dozens:

"The enemy of Russian must always be a friend of Finland"
Pehr Evind Svinhufvud, president of Finland in 1931-1937
Akten zur deutschen auswärtigen Politik. 1918 — 1945», ser. D, Bd. V. Baden-Baden, 1953, S. 447

"The Finland is the most anti-Soviet amongst all Baltic states"
M. Litvinov, 11 January 1934
Архив внешней политики СССР, ф. 05, оп. 14, д. 117, л. 8 — 9.

"No one country's press makes such active, open propaganda for attacking the Soviet Union and annexing [Carelian] part of its territory as Finnish press does".
M. Litvinov, speaking with Finnish ambassador.
«Документы внешней политики СССР», т. XVIII. М., 1973, с. 143.

See also:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heimosodat
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet–Finnish_conflict_1921–1922_and_East_Karelia n_Uprising
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greater_Finland

What about other european neighbours? Poland, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia? It seem that they had also every reason to stand neutral, Romania and Lithuania would have chance for territories (Transylvania, Constanta/Memel)only if Axis would be defeated(though in Lithuania case it would possibly lead to losing of another territories). Baltic states and Poland had non-agression pacts with USSR. Germans in 1939 started diplomatic offense to ensure that Scandinavia and Baltics will not join allies.
Can't say for Romania.
Poland did not exist in 1941. Do you think they contributed significantly in Nazi invasion against USSR?
The same for Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. They were part of the USSR.

REDY
Aug 26, 2009, 01:37 PM
Ok. I can't translate you whole chapters from books, here are just a few facts, from dozens:

"The enemy of Russian must always be a friend of Finland"
Pehr Evind Svinhufvud, president of Finland in 1931-1937
Akten zur deutschen auswärtigen Politik. 1918 — 1945», ser. D, Bd. V. Baden-Baden, 1953, S. 447

"The Finland is the most anti-Soviet amongst all Baltic states"
M. Litvinov, 11 January 1934
Архив внешней политики СССР, ф. 05, оп. 14, д. 117, л. 8 — 9.

"No one country's press makes such active, open propaganda for attacking the Soviet Union and annexing [Carelian] part of its territory as Finnish press does".
M. Litvinov, speaking with Finnish ambassador.
«Документы внешней политики СССР», т. XVIII. М., 1973, с. 143.

See also:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heimosodat
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet–Finnish_conflict_1921–1922_and_East_Karelia n_Uprising
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greater_Finland
Fair enough.
Just note, its much more important what reported Litvinov to Stalin than what he reported to Finnish ambassador and quotes from years before 1939 were pretty non-relevant to discussion. From my view its absurd but Soviets should have such fear.


Can't say for Romania.
Poland did not exist in 1941. Do you think they contributed significantly in Nazi invasion against USSR?
The same for Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. They were part of the USSR.
We are talking about MR Pact, its results and intentions of Soviets. So pretty much about 1939-1941 starting with signing of pact and ending with operation Barbarossa. I am asking how is it buying time? Wasnt that kind of buying time more profitable for Germany? Wasnt it same or at least similiar to Germany and primarily targeted on expansionism?

I think that Poles didnt contributed because they were eliminated by both and fall of Germany was more probably than fall of USSR. If it would be annexed only by one side, Poles would be inclined more cooperate with another (do you agree?) You should let them fight and support them if you wanted eliminate Nazists.

red_elk
Aug 26, 2009, 01:57 PM
We are talking about MR Pact, its results and intentions of Soviets. So pretty much about 1939-1941 starting with signing of pact and ending with operation Barbarossa. I am asking how is it buying time? Wasnt that kind of buying time more profitable for Germany?
Soviet intention was to avoid German attack in 1939. If pact lead to German aggression against France instead of Soviet Union, why it was not profitable for USSR? Stalin counted on French ability to withstand German attack and stabilize front - in this case it would weaken Germany.

I think that Poles didnt contributed because they were eliminated by both and fall of Germany was more probably than fall of USSR. If it would be annexed only by one side, Poles would be inclined more cooperate with another (do you agree?) You should let them fight and support them if you wanted eliminate Nazists.
Poland didn't want any kind of support from USSR and refused all such offers. And USSR let them fight until organized resistance collapsed and government escaped to London. After Polish army ceased to exist, it wasn't matter much, with whom they were "more inclined" to cooperate. For some reason most of them chose to help USSR, not Germany - too bad if this reason is not obvious for you.

JEELEN
Aug 26, 2009, 02:58 PM
If you have link or something, it would be interesting to see the other similar funny facts.

Not many funny facts in Ian Kershaw's Hitler 1936-1945: Nemesis...

Russia can't claim Alaska today and it couldn't in XIX century either.
But if Alaska was forcefully taken from Russia and recaptured back 19 years later, I would call it reincorporation (or liberation, depending on details). No matter on what name Russian state will have - Russian Empire, Soviet Union or Elven Kingdom.

Again, your analogy is flawed: Soviet Russia gave up Ukraine, Belorus, etc voluntarily, i.e. they recognized the status quo. What you're proposing is quite the opposite: upturning the status quo to allow Russia to annex territories that are today, as I already explained, independent again. Perhaps you are living in an Elven Kingdom?

Power politics, expansionism and defensive measures are not mutually exclusive. Your claim that it were not defensive measures was only backed up with the fact of quick German advance through Soviet territory ni 1941. It only proves the limited effectiveness of those defensive measures, and still, unlike France, USSR managed to defeat Germany.

Occupying independent nations' territories can never be called 'defensive measures'; it can be - and is - called expansionism.

Interesting question. I said, Allies could easily prevent Soviet intervention - but where I said that USSR will occupy Polish territory in that case?
Hitler could be quite easily defeated in 1939-1940 by means of 3 countries: Britain, France and Poland. Without moving Eastern Polish border and without violation of M-R pact. Poles would be delighted. Russians would be delighted too - we don't need territories for the cost of more than twenty millions of people.

An interesting hypothesis that however cannot be proven. It can, however, be easily disproved: the existence of the Nazi-Soviet pact (and its secret protocol) made any rescue to prevent Poland's collapse impossible in practice - as, again, I've already stated. The fact that Stalin agreed to said pact while negotiations with both the UK and France were still being conducted, clearly shows that the Soviet leader had no real interest in defeating Germany, Only when the USSR was itself attacked was it ready to accept such an alliance; that is, when it no longer had any choice in the matter. And kindly refrain from speaking in the name of all of Russia.

They had agreement with Poland to help them in case of German attack - and they did not. How this is not violation?

It is called force majeure - as already I explained -; perhaps you are familiar with the term.

red_elk
Aug 26, 2009, 03:47 PM
Again, your analogy is flawed: Soviet Russia gave up Ukraine, Belorus, etc voluntarily, i.e. they recognized the status quo.
In this case, Finland also gave up Karelia in 1940 voluntarily. They recognized status quo after Winter War, signing Moscow treaty. Agree? If not, what's the conceptual difference?

What you're proposing is quite the opposite: upturning the status quo to allow Russia to annex territories that are today, as I already explained, independent again. Perhaps you are living in an Elven Kingdom?
I'm not proposing anything about status quo - I'm calling capturing back territories which recently were part of country, reincorporation. Finland in 1941 reincorporated Karelian territories back, but status quo is different up until now.
The term is not related to the "real" justified owner of the territories, many territories are still disputed.

Occupying independent nations' territories can never be called 'defensive measures'; it can be - and is - called expansionism.
You can call it the most evil and monstrous action if you want. It will not change the fact that the territories were useful for defense against Germany and were used for that purpose. Effectiveness of those measures is another topic.

An interesting hypothesis that however cannot be proven. It can, however, be easily disproved: the existence of the Nazi-Soviet pact (and its secret protocol) made any rescue to prevent Poland's collapse impossible in practice - as, again, I've already stated. The fact that Stalin agreed to said pact while negotiations with both the UK and France were still being conducted, clearly shows that the Soviet leader had no real interest in defeating Germany, Only when the USSR was itself attacked was it ready to accept such an alliance; that is, when it no longer had any choice in the matter.
Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact was not related to the possibility of joint British-French-Polish forces easily destroy Germany. And of course, USSR was very much interested in defeating Germany without Soviet involvement. Definitely, USSR was not interested in war with Germany, why it should be?

And kindly refrain from speaking in the name of all of Russia.
What?
And in the name of all Poland too? :)

It is called force majeure - as already I explained -; perhaps you are familiar with the term.
Which force majeure didn't allow Britain to start bombing German territory and France to shell it with artillery?
They had to do it, and many other things, according to their agreement with Poland.
Again, do you think that Allies completely fulfilled their obligations related to their security agreement with Poland? Yes or no?

REDY
Aug 26, 2009, 04:51 PM
Soviet intention was to avoid German attack in 1939. If pact lead to German aggression against France instead of Soviet Union, why it was not profitable for USSR? Stalin counted on French ability to withstand German attack and stabilize front - in this case it would weaken Germany.
USSR shouldnt expected fall of France but it should expected that Germany will get by this influence over rest of Europe and prolonged boarders will be symphony for panzers.


Poland didn't want any kind of support from USSR and refused all such offers. And USSR let them fight until organized resistance collapsed and government escaped to London. After Polish army ceased to exist, it wasn't matter much, with whom they were "more inclined" to cooperate. For some reason most of them chose to help USSR, not Germany - too bad if this reason is not obvious for you.
You asked I responded. I am not saying that Polish diplomacy was great(Beck:rolleyes:), but if USSR had chance to easily smash nazists, they lost this chance in 1939. The Polish army should still stepping back and forming partisans, but it didnt got possibility. As Soviets had to againist much stronger army in 1941.

red_elk
Aug 26, 2009, 05:27 PM
USSR shouldnt expected fall of France but it should expected that Germany will get by this influence over rest of Europe and prolonged boarders will be symphony for panzers.

You asked I responded. I am not saying that Polish diplomacy was great(Beck:rolleyes:), but if USSR had chance to easily smash nazists, they lost this chance in 1939. The Polish army should still stepping back and forming partisans, but it didnt got possibility. As Soviets had to againist much stronger army in 1941.

Yes, USSR had a chance to defeat Germany in 1939 together with Allies, that was the main topic of British-French-Soviet negotiations. Negotiations failed in large part because of Polish position not to sign any agreement with USSR. Taking into account "defensive strategy" of Allies, without non-aggression pact there was a possibility that Germans will not stop on Polish-Soviet border.

JEELEN
Aug 26, 2009, 10:44 PM
In this case, Finland also gave up Karelia in 1940 voluntarily. They recognized status quo after Winter War, signing Moscow treaty.

That, finally, would be a good analogy.

I'm not proposing anything about status quo - I'm calling capturing back territories which recently were part of country, reincorporation. Finland in 1941 reincorporated Karelian territories back, but status quo is different up until now.
The term is not related to the "real" justified owner of the territories, many territories are still disputed.

And many territories will remain disputed.

You can call it the most evil and monstrous action if you want. It will not change the fact that the territories were useful for defense against Germany and were used for that purpose. Effectiveness of those measures is another topic.

Contradictory as well as incorrect: the speed with which the territories annexed in accordance with the Nazi-Soviet pact were overrun in 1941 disproved their defensive value; in fact, as already argued, the forward defense associated with it caused the huge losses in Soviet men and material that could have ben avoided with a more in-depth defense, as, again, proposed by Stalin's own military strategists.

Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact was not related to the possibility of joint British-French-Polish forces easily destroy Germany. And of course, USSR was very much interested in defeating Germany without Soviet involvement. Definitely, USSR was not interested in war with Germany, why it should be?

Absurd and, again, already debunked. Repeating the same over and over again does not constitute making an arguement stick.

What?
And in the name of all Poland too?

That would certainly be appropriate.

Which force majeure didn't allow Britain to start bombing German territory and France to shell it with artillery?
They had to do it, and many other things, according to their agreement with Poland.
Again, do you think that Allies completely fulfilled their obligations related to their security agreement with Poland? Yes or no?

Again, already answered and, again, quite beside the truth of the matter.

Now, if you keep this not responding to replies and bringing up irrelevant details up, I'll be requesting this thread to be closed. Thank you.

red_elk
Aug 26, 2009, 11:42 PM
In brief, my basic points are:
1. The pact, except its obvious intention of expanding sphere of influence and gaining territories for the USSR, had also significant value for defence of the country against supposed German attack, by redirecting German aggression, buying time for prepare and holding German forces further away from vital centers of the Soviet union (Moscow, Leningrad, Kavkaz), in order not to allow enemy to reach them quickly in first assault of the Blitzkrieg.

The only argument against this statement, given here, was that Germans quickly overran the buffer zone. Which obviously doesn't disprove anything - without buffer zone, initial German assault would most likely reach Moscow. The first few weeks, after which Germans advanced for a few hundred kilometers, were enough to complete mobilization. Poland and France did not have this time.

2. France and Britain, having security agreement with Poland, did not fulfill it after German attack and in fact, betrayed Poland. Having much more powerful army on Western German border, they did not attack Germany and lost the possibility to end WW2 in 1939 or 1940.

There were two arguments against this point:
- Western Allies had defensive strategy.
- Force majeure, which didn't allow the Allies to intervene.
My question, why it didn't allow the Allies at least to bomb or shell German territory was not answered.

You are welcome to bring new arguments to the discussion, if you want.

Now, if you keep this not responding to replies and bringing up irrelevant details up, I'll be requesting this thread to be closed.
If I missed some of your questions, or arguments (written above), repeat them please, or give a link. You can also write the similar summary, to clarify your position.

rilnator
Aug 27, 2009, 06:39 AM
In brief, my basic points are:
1. The pact, except its obvious intention of expanding sphere of influence and gaining territories for the USSR, had also significant value for defence of the country against supposed German attack, by redirecting German aggression, buying time for prepare and holding German forces further away from vital centers of the Soviet union (Moscow, Leningrad, Kavkaz), in order not to allow enemy to reach them quickly in first assault of the Blitzkrieg.

The only argument against this statement, given here, was that Germans quickly overran the buffer zone. Which obviously doesn't disprove anything - without buffer zone, initial German assault would most likely reach Moscow. The first few weeks, after which Germans advanced for a few hundred kilometers, were enough to complete mobilization. Poland and France did not have this time.


So you are suggesting the Soviet plan all along was to sacfrifice hundreds of thousands of soldiers and all that territory. And just wait for an attack?

The fact that Moscow wasn't taken was a Hitler blunder, not Stalin's genius.

Just like everyone else Stalin though Hitler wouldn't attack.

Atticus
Aug 27, 2009, 07:24 AM
Ok. I can't translate you whole chapters from books, here are just a few facts, from dozens:


Of the three quotes you give only the first one speaks directly about the attitude of Finland, two latter are more about how the attitude was recieved in Russia.

While there were Finnish volunteers "liberating" Karelians and a good amount of loonies who fantasized about Greater Finland, it doesn't describe the Finnish attitude in total. Unfortunately it's usually the whackos who make most of the noise, and it's their opinions people abroad often hear: Just think about what kind of picture media paints about Americans. Or perhaps you know better how common are Russian wishes to invade Finland, but here it's the major justification for big military budget and conscription army.

As far as I know none of the dreams about Greater Finland ever got any support from the Finnish government. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

I can very well understand that Stalin & co were worried about Finland, that hardly is not very good reason for aggresion. You could equally well justify Finnish attitudes and invasion in the Continuation War with their fear of Russia.

red_elk
Aug 27, 2009, 09:45 AM
Of the three quotes you give only the first one speaks directly about the attitude of Finland, two latter are more about how the attitude was recieved in Russia.
My post was an illustration of the fact that Soviet-Finnish relations before war were far from good. It was a real possibility and general belief in Soviet government that Finland could join German aggression against USSR. In Western popular culture, often used term "paranoia" to describe Soviet attitude, but if you read about Soviet-Finnish negotiations and pre-war relations in general, such attitude of Soviet leadership seems logical.

There are much more other evidences, except those three quotes and several links. Just it takes a lot of time to find such kind of approval (of what I read some time ago) in the internet, moreover I don't see a lot of people here who tend to back up their claims similarly.

While there were Finnish volunteers "liberating" Karelians and a good amount of loonies who fantasized about Greater Finland, it doesn't describe the Finnish attitude in total. Unfortunately it's usually the whackos who make most of the noise, and it's their opinions people abroad often hear: Just think about what kind of picture media paints about Americans. Or perhaps you know better how common are Russian wishes to invade Finland, but here it's the major justification for big military budget and conscription army.
Of course I understand that ultra-nationalists are not representing the attitude of country in general.

As far as I know none of the dreams about Greater Finland ever got any support from the Finnish government. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.
It depends on what kind of support you mean. Propaganda in mass-media could not be run without government approval. Also, IIRC there were some quite nationalistic statements of Finnish president, related to "Greater Finland" topic.

I can very well understand that Stalin & co were worried about Finland, that hardly is not very good reason for aggresion. You could equally well justify Finnish attitudes and invasion in the Continuation War with their fear of Russia.
Agree. I'm not talking about justification of actions, it's another matter.

Atticus
Aug 27, 2009, 10:24 AM
My post was an illustration of the fact that Soviet-Finnish relations before war were far from good. It was a real possibility and general belief in Soviet government that Finland could join German aggression against USSR.

Ok, I misunderstood this (and had wrong recollection of past messages which I had read before).

No disagreement on my part then.

red_elk
Aug 27, 2009, 10:47 AM
So you are suggesting the Soviet plan all along was to sacfrifice hundreds of thousands of soldiers and all that territory. And just wait for an attack?
The Soviet plan was to keep enemy in ~1000 km from Moscow, making many Soviet industrial centers unreachable from air attacks and quick land invasion, before war begins.

przemuch
Aug 27, 2009, 04:32 PM
The Soviet plan was to keep enemy in ~1000 km from Moscow, making many Soviet industrial centers unreachable from air attacks and quick land invasion, before war begins.

Is this your interpretation of history, ex-post explanation or I'm missing some important sources? Like "Stalin memoirs: Why did I support Hitler and why it was so terribly smart"...


As for interpretation it fails when it comes to details. So Soviet leaders were smart enough to predict the dangers of German air superiority. How come that "1000 km" rule was about the only modern thing in Soviet air forces when it came to 1941? Airfields turned to graveyards beacuse of blind holding to concrete ones. Air doctrine preferring close ground support in place of... interceptors. Doesn't add up. We need many, many miles to help secure our industry from bombers. But at the same time we do not need to shoot those bombers down?

Not to mention some would argue that preventing war from happening would be far better way to secure those industrial centers. But duh...

red_elk
Aug 27, 2009, 04:41 PM
Is this your interpretation of history, ex-post explanation or I'm missing some important sources? Like "Stalin memoirs: Why did I support Hitler and why it was so terribly smart"...

As for interpretation it fails when it comes to details. So Soviet leaders were smart enough to predict the dangers of German air superiority. How come that "1000 km" rule was about the only modern thing in Soviet air forces when it came to 1941? Airfields turned to graveyards beacuse of blind holding to concrete ones. Air doctrine preferring close ground support in place of... interceptors. Doesn't add up. We need many, many miles to help secure our industry from bombers. But at the same time we do not need to shoot those bombers down?

Not to mention some would argue that preventing war from happening would be far better way to secure those industrial centers. But duh...
It was clarification of the previous post
http://forums.civfanatics.com/showpost.php?p=8400764&postcount=53
Comment on it, there is no need to discuss additional details only.

przemuch
Aug 27, 2009, 05:53 PM
In brief, my basic points are:
1. The pact, except its obvious intention of expanding sphere of influence and gaining territories for the USSR, had also significant value for defence of the country against supposed German attack, by redirecting German aggression, buying time for prepare and holding German forces further away from vital centers of the Soviet union (Moscow, Leningrad, Kavkaz), in order not to allow enemy to reach them quickly in first assault of the Blitzkrieg.

That one begins with facts and ends with interpretation. Let's go back to things that were certain. Namely: purpose of Soviet diplomacy in the whole interwar period:

1. Reclaim a position of European power both in power and in diplomatic standings.

Easy to prove, especially when you actually support that notion. Ie. you justify Soviet claims to lands of the Tzarist Empire. (Regardless how naive and arbitrary it sounds, why wouldn't they claim Kiev Russia's lands as well?) and with the "expanding sphere of influence". Funny thing, Soviets seem to be decades behind the world - in western diplomacy "sphere of influences" concept died with Vienna order. But that's irrelevant: how to reclaim position and territories?
A. With a pen - not really possible; somehow not a single country was interested in joining glorious revolution; and - buzzzzzzz - Versailles Treaty is in the way, former Allies refuse to recognize your governments, not to mention your demands, you lose.
B. With a sword - buzzzzzzz - Versailles Treaty, League of Nations, just about dozen of bilateral treaties with countries-to-be-swallowed, you lose.

Answer: Versailles' order is the main obstacle. The most visible enemy of Versailles? Germany. Stressemann or Hitler - differences are secondary. It's a kindergarten for historians: two major countries were bound together by mutual interest. Devising a secret, murky game of "We need time to prepare against invasion of our enemy, so we DESPERATELY NEED to help to create such enemy, to feed him, arm him, share a country or two with him and then act friggin surprised when attacked by him" is well... you probably can see how "tom clancy" it is;)

And the place where ex-post explanations meet their doom: Sooo, Stalin (The Oracle for his buddies) expected Germans to strike in 1939, so he devised a true masterplan: to be completely and utterly surprised, even morally devastated when the actual attack finally took place!

2. Bring down the Versailles order. Again:
A. With a pen - how about seeing those "multilateral concepts" in a clearer light? When it comes to details, these were not really different than those deals forced upon Baltic states later. I know, I know, they were meant to secure peace. Again with intentions and interpretations. You see peace - a supposed purpose, I see what was inside those agreements. Soviet bases. Soviet troops. Entering a sovereign territory before the war. By all means, feel free to disagree.
B. With a sword - hey, but Soviets did not want the war! Actually... Please, let us discuss ANY peaceful way of "reclaiming" territories of some dead state from Poland, Romania, Baltic states, Finland etc. ANY peaceful way of changing balance of power in favour of SU - excluding any implemented in interwar period.

Answer: What would peace give us? Nothing we seek (see 1.). War? Hey, we would be called aggressors. Germany wants to start a war with the Versailles powers? Hell yeah! Do we actively help? Whatever for, they will kill each other (hey, you said something along these lines as well!). Do we bargain with them? Why not, as long as we profit. Do we actively prevent the war from happening? Hell no! (See "What would peace give us" and "Hitler vs capitalists" theory.)

That's what this is about. No one, not even Poland in 1939 expected from SU to start an aggressive war with Hitler. The only thing that was important and fairly cheap was not to reinforce Hitler's delusions. He was already scared and uncertain, playing more than he deemed reasonable himself. He started a war based on a assumption that western powers will stay quiet. AND on the CERTAINTY that SU will back him up in Poland.

Judge yourself, again. The Molotov - Ribbentrop controversy (at least among historians...) has been never about "he went to bed with Hitler" - many did. It was about the purpose: Munich, for all of its flaws, was about rescuing peace, even at cost of horrendous shame. You can't, even with a really ill will, possibly say this about M-R T. And you can easily see through ex-post explanations of "securing motherland" and "visionary Stalin fairy tale": gains for SU during huge war were impossible to acquire during peace. There's an old saying: id fecit cui... . Quite fitting.


2. France and Britain, having security agreement with Poland, did not fulfill it after German attack and in fact, betrayed Poland. Having much more powerful army on Western German border, they did not attack Germany and lost the possibility to end WW2 in 1939 or 1940.

Read more about actual agreements. I have bad opinion about behaviour of Allies in 1939, but judging from a text itself you can't support such claims. The agreements were clearly stating ie. thet France would need weeks to mobilise, mount offensive etc. The same agreements were mentioning British air power supporting Poland. But... they would fly from Britain, drop bombs, land in Poland, refuel, go back, and so on. After three days of september few airfields would be even accessible. No airfield - secure. Let's face it, those agreements were written for a different kind of war. While there was fair amount of cowardice (usually automatically - and poorly - excused as "hard experiences from WWI"), there were also a mountains of impossibilities. Yeah, I wish I knew what would happen during improvised offensive through Rhine. Then again - I'm not so sure I would throw my soldiers forward with just a feeling. Would it be proper and honourable? Certainly. Useful? You're awfully quick to judge from some tiny set of data.

There were two arguments against this point:
- Western Allies had defensive strategy.
- Force majeure, which didn't allow the Allies to intervene.
My question, why it didn't allow the Allies at least to bomb or shell German territory was not answered.

Bombings were conducted. Small, local, later they would become propaganda drops. Then again: why would you want to sacrifice your precious (and not-so numerous pilots) for a demonstration? An empty gesture - especially without strategic bombers. Yeah, you may not know it, but those bombardments would do nothing to Germany. Sure, politics love (empty) gestures, but what about this gesture of SU, provided 17.09? I mean, can you explain position of Allies THEN?

That's why your assumptions about Churchill "view" of M-R T sound so ... exotic. Not to mention you FAIL to report mr Churchill wasn't even Prime Minister at the time - how exactly would he be "accessing all those (alleged) intelligence data" about secret protocol? And if Allies were so convinced about benevolence of SU why were they seriously considering sending troops to Finland and bombing Caucasus oil fields? Mind you, Churchill was PM THEN :lol:


Broad enough now ? :rolleyes:

red_elk
Aug 27, 2009, 08:21 PM
That one begins with facts and ends with interpretation. Let's go back to things that were certain. Namely: purpose of Soviet diplomacy in the whole interwar period:

1. Reclaim a position of European power both in power and in diplomatic standings....
Some facts are not fit to your picture. For example, what was the reason for diplomatic negotiations with Allies for half-year before M-R pact was signed, trying to persuade Poland to sign security agreement with Soviet participation? Only when it became obvious that the negotiations failed, the agreement with Germany was signed - 1 week before war. What was the reason for Soviet attempts to protest against Munich agreement and against allowing Germany to swallow Czechoslovakia? How the intentions of USSR to give Poland security guarantees against Germany in 1939, correlate with your views?

2. Bring down the Versailles order.
...
Do we actively prevent the war from happening? Hell no! (See "What would peace give us"
How exactly USSR was supposed to actively prevent war from happening?
Not to sign M-R pact? Nobody could guarantee that Hitler would not attack Poland anyway (he planned operation since spring 1939, without even trying to get Soviet "approval") - except if USSR would jump in on Polish and Allies side, which was impossible because of Polish diplomatic position. And in this case, we would get troops of hostile power close to Minsk, without having mutual security agreement with Allies and without non-aggression pact with Germany.

That's regarding your position. About my, I would be happy if you show me how keeping German troops a few hundred kilometers further away from Moscow was not good for security. If you really not agree with that part of my statement, of course.

Read more about actual agreements. I have bad opinion about behaviour of Allies in 1939, but judging from a text itself you can't support such claims. The agreements were clearly stating ie. thet France would need weeks to mobilise, mount offensive etc.
If I remember correctly, France had 2 weeks to mobilize, according to agreement. So, even if you are going to judge from formal perspective, Allies did not completely fulfill their part of agreement.
Also, you can read about talks of Polish diplomats with British and French military officials. The number of days which they spent trying to meet them, and results of talks don't need further comments. Allies were not going to fight with Germany over Poland.

That's why your assumptions about Churchill "view" of M-R T sound so ... exotic.
I brought the quote of Churchill, that's it. What assumptions are you talking about?

Not to mention you FAIL to report mr Churchill wasn't even Prime Minister at the time - how exactly would he be "accessing all those (alleged) intelligence data" about secret protocol?
Show me where I claim something about Churchill's access to intelligence data about secret protocol? What did I FAIL to report? :)

przemuch
Aug 27, 2009, 09:37 PM
Only when it became obvious that the negotiations failed, the agreement with Germany was signed - 1 week before war.

The negotiations with Germans were being prepared since April. One could wonder: why exactly are you so sure it happened in order "failure => MR", not the other way around? Any specific ideas? Dunno, even something so puny like mine: The willingness of Germany to agree for Soviet teritorial demands* was the cause of breaking off negotiations with the West... Certainly fits the SU purpose: "reclaim, reclaim".

* - or scratch that and replace with "Germany had no Versailles obligations they intended to keep and Stalin knew it all too well and it..."

What was the reason for Soviet attempts to protest against Munich agreement and against allowing Germany to swallow Czechoslovakia? How the intentions of USSR to give Poland security guarantees against Germany in 1939, correlate with your views?

The protest itself was, well... just a protest? Did they actually defy the agreement?:) Reason: 1. They were not invited to participate. 2. It was a "directoriate" way instead of their intended "global" vision no one would/could enforce. 3. They were actually guaranteeing Cz's sover. - one could say they simply drawing the attention from their lack of actions. And they looked far better than French this way. 4. Somethng Kissinger said: reasonable Hitler would just sit back and enjoy the increasing power of his huge country; well, we know now how reasonable he was;)

Incidentally in 1938th SU threatened to break off diplomatic relations with Poland entirely. Mutual relations had hit the bottom, yet suddenly they were ready to give out guarantees? Btw, consider this: many accuse (and accused) British of goading Hitler into attacking Poland through clever use of March guarantees. Wasn't the Brit-Pol relations faaar better than the other pair? If British look so suspicious, how would SU look in this perspective?:) Finally: SU was simply afraid of Polish inclusion in the Axis. Guarantees were a bargaining chip, because to Soviet diplomacy it looked far too real.

How exactly USSR was supposed to actively prevent war from happening?
Not to sign M-R pact? Nobody could guarantee that Hitler would not attack Poland anyway (he planned operation since spring 1939, without even trying to get Soviet "approval") - except if USSR would jump in on Polish and Allies side, which was impossible because of Polish diplomatic position. And in this case, we would get troops of hostile power close to Minsk, without having mutual security agreement with Allies and without non-aggression pact with Germany.

These are still speculation mixed with ex-post logic. Remind me, when did Hitler finally give the order to strike? Before or after MR? He planned several operations, including attack on the West. And as for value of non-aggression pact with Germany - you mentioned Munich yourself. Wasn't it clear enough it would be another piece of paper? And stop thinking like Stalin for a moment and try as Hitler, in factual terms only. Instead safe east you have nothing. And West on warpath behind your back. He considered his plan rather crazy va banque even with SU support... "Nobody could guarantee that Hitler would not attack..." - how exactly this situation changed wih MR? Who guaranteed that you won't get attacked by Hitler? Ah, wait, Hitler...

That's regarding your position. About my, I would be happy if you show me how keeping German troops a few hundred kilometers further away from Moscow was not good for security. If you really not agree with that part of my statement, of course.

Fact: Germans had more distance to cope with.

Speculation: Without it it would be easier for them to conquer SU. Why was Stalin's Line demolished again? And about the value of 100 kilometers in blitzkrieg? Three - four days due to roads actually existing as opposed to eastern parts? Nvm, let's think about that horrible "surprise!!!" in 1941. How come, war was (sarcasm) EXPECTED, Stalin received his distance... Or rather he was so sure no attack would come? In second case: you're left with Suvorow, laughing stock of Russia, who is so sure Stalin was actually planing to attack himself. So... SU would be not only instrumental in starting WWII but planning another part;)

Unsupported (so far) Fantasy and Reading From Stalin's Mind: MR was simply a plan to get more distance before "final showdown". Now we are speculating what Stalin was speculating. Am I the only one considering it funny?:)

If I remember correctly, France had 2 weeks to mobilize, according to agreement. So, even if you are going to judge from formal perspective, Allies did not completely fulfill their part of agreement.
Also, you can read about talks of Polish diplomats with British and French military officials. The number of days which they spent trying to meet them, and results of talks don't need further comments. Allies were unable to fight with Germany over Poland.

fixed:P

As for 2 weeks - now the specifics for offensive:) And while I'm eager to admit there was much to improve in attitude of Allies, I fail to see how could they END war faster. So far I can imagine changing shape of western front. No offensive would take away major weaknessess of Allied armies. Then again, France could sign their own MR treaty then - it would be actually comparable to the original one (morally AND naively wise;) )...


I brought the quote of Churchill, that's it. What assumptions are you talking about?
The one that he considered SU actions like... justified? And little later he considered attacking this justified country on similar principle?:)
Or possibly something I read about Litwinow pushing the issue of Pribaltika being part of Soviet Monroe doctrine (again with being waaaay behind the times;), that gave Brits serious "WTF moment";)


Show me where I claim something about Churchill's access to intelligence data about secret protocol? What did I FAIL to report? :)
Guilty as charged, someone else's idea;) Even though my point for Churchill's mood swings still stands. Not so eager to understand SU when in power:)

red_elk
Aug 27, 2009, 11:11 PM
The negotiations with Germans were being prepared since April. One could wonder: why exactly are you so sure it happened in order "failure => MR", not the other way around? Any specific ideas?
Being prepared - you mean several occasional talks since April, whereas negotiating with Allies were in progress and all sides actively tried to reach compromise? USSR and Germany didn't discuss the terms of M-R pact until the end of August. So, "failure => MR", not the other way around, because of time of events.

The protest itself was, well... just a protest? Did they actually defy the agreement?:)
What's the difference? USSR could not help militarily.
Similarly, Allied declaration of war to Germany in September was just a declaration. Though real help was possible in this case.

Incidentally in 1938th SU threatened to break off diplomatic relations with Poland entirely. Mutual relations had hit the bottom, yet suddenly they were ready to give out guarantees?
If it was profitable for USSR, why not? To ally with Britain and France, and to contain Germany. Not one-sided guarantees, of course.

Btw, consider this: many accuse (and accused) British of goading Hitler into attacking Poland through clever use of March guarantees. Wasn't the Brit-Pol relations faaar better than the other pair? If British look so suspicious, how would SU look in this perspective?:)
It would look even more suspicious, but it doesn't make sense, since USSR in fact didn't have agreement with Poland.

Finally: SU was simply afraid of Polish inclusion in the Axis. Guarantees were a bargaining chip, because to Soviet diplomacy it looked far too real.
Agree with bolder part.

These are still speculation mixed with ex-post logic. Remind me, when did Hitler finally give the order to strike? Before or after MR? He planned several operations, including attack on the West.
And his primary target was... forgot. Probably, Poland? The weakest opponent with unresolved border disputes?

And as for value of non-aggression pact with Germany - you mentioned Munich yourself. Wasn't it clear enough it would be another piece of paper? And stop thinking like Stalin for a moment and try as Hitler, in factual terms only. Instead safe east you have nothing. And West on warpath behind your back. He considered his plan rather crazy va banque even with SU support... "Nobody could guarantee that Hitler would not attack..." - how exactly this situation changed wih MR? Who guaranteed that you won't get attacked by Hitler? Ah, wait, Hitler...
From Hitler perspective, the pact prevented for some time (1940) possible Soviet-British alliance. The interesting fact that he was right. Germany got a time to get France, Denmark, Norway, etc. Also, I don't see the reason to give half of Poland to the country, he was going to attack right after. To make the quest more challenging? Also, you sort of contradict with your previous statement: if pact was just a piece of paper, the reasoning of Soviet side which you gave previously, becomes senseless.

Fact: Germans had more distance to cope with.

Speculation: Without it it would be easier for them to conquer SU. Why was Stalin's Line demolished again? And about the value of 100 kilometers in blitzkrieg? Three - four days due to roads actually existing as opposed to eastern parts? Nvm, let's think about that horrible "surprise!!!" in 1941.
How many kilometers? May be ~300 km would be more correct estimation? 300 km longer supply lines, farther away air support. In conditions where goal was to capture as much of European part of the USSR as possible for a few weeks - not to allow Soviets to complete mobilization?

How come, war was (sarcasm) EXPECTED, Stalin received his distance... Or rather he was so sure no attack would come? In second case: you're left with Suvorow, laughing stock of Russia, who is so sure Stalin was actually planing to attack himself. So... SU would be not only instrumental in starting WWII but planning another part;)
What if he was sure the attack will not happen in June 1941? Totally impossible? According to his orders, no.

fixed:P

As for 2 weeks - now the specifics for offensive:) And while I'm eager to admit there was much to improve in attitude of Allies, I fail to see how could they END war faster. So far I can imagine changing shape of western front. No offensive would take away major weaknessess of Allied armies. Then again, France could sign their own MR treaty then - it would be actually comparable to the original one (morally AND naively wise;) )...
Fixed and became wrong. France had much more powerful forces on the Western border of Germany, when more than half of German forces were in Poland. I already posted the table:

Power balance on German-French border in September 1939:
--------------------------Allies--------Germany
Divisions------------------78------------44
Manpower (thousands)----3253----------1000
Artillery and mortars------17500---------8640
Tanks--------------------2850----------0 (!)
Aircraft-------------------2421----------1359

You probably missed it.
The real French attack to the Germany in September 1939 would be disastrous for Hitler.

The one that he considered SU actions like... justified? And little later he considered attacking this justified country on similar principle?:)
Or possibly something I read about Litwinow pushing the issue of Pribaltika being part of Soviet Monroe doctrine (again with being waaaay behind the times;), that gave Brits serious "WTF moment";)
If you replace "justified" with "sensible", your statement will be correct.

rilnator
Aug 28, 2009, 07:03 AM
What was the reason for Soviet attempts to protest against Munich agreement and against allowing Germany to swallow Czechoslovakia?

How exactly USSR was supposed to actively prevent war from happening?
Not to sign M-R pact? Nobody could guarantee that Hitler would not attack Poland anyway (he planned operation since spring 1939, without even trying to get Soviet "approval") - except if USSR would jump in on Polish and Allies side, which was impossible because of Polish diplomatic position. And in this case, we would get troops of hostile power close to Minsk, without having mutual security agreement with Allies and without non-aggression pact with Germany.


The main reason the Soviets were infuriated about Munich was because they were totally left out of the negotiations. Despite having a guarentee on the protection of Czechoslovakia and being (in their opinion) a major European power at the time.

Stalin had a choice:

1) Side with Poland, Britian and France, even though the Poles didn't trust them and wouldn't give them a right of passage. Even though any German attack on USSR wouldn't recieve any help from Britian and France or....

2) Sign a pact with Germany that would allow her to bully the smaller countries around her and hopefully keep the Germans honest.

I think he made the right choice. France didn't want to fight and Britians initial contribution (the BEF) wasn't much.

Even so the move into Poland was moreso a land grab than a planned buffer zone.

przemuch
Aug 28, 2009, 08:22 AM
Being prepared - you mean several occasional talks since April, whereas negotiating with Allies were in progress and all sides actively tried to reach compromise? USSR and Germany didn't discuss the terms of M-R pact until the end of August. So, "failure => MR", not the other way around, because of time of events.

[sigh]

23rd August: western delegates announce in Moscow that "In case of multilateral action against the agression Polish - Soviet military cooperation is not impossible, the conditions can be set". This was coming directly from Beck. Meanwhile French government orders delegates to sign the agreement even regardless of Polish stance. In response Woroshilov (sp?) explains that there's a need for change in Soviet policy and the negotiations are over and the Polish refusal (sic) to negotiate was the main cause.

19th August - Molotow invites Ribbentrop to Moscow. This is repeated by Stalin 21st. Project of the treaty is being finished by some underlings so it's signed practically at the spot.

[Duroselle "La decadence", also Polish diplomatic archives, also Sovietskij sojuz w borbie za mir 1938 - 1939]

But hey, let us pretend that those few days don't matter so much. I've aready stated what SU couldn't get from the West. I've even adopted "reclaiming" priorities as my own;)

What's the difference? USSR could not help militarily.
Similarly, Allied declaration of war to Germany in September was just a declaration. Though real help was possible in this case.

I wasn't asking about the difference, don't even need any in this argument. You brought up this protest yourself, probably to illustrate SU was against Hitler's march for power. Or for something else, perhaps as a sign that SU was acting in defense of peace. I admit, it's hard to decide, what for.


If it was profitable for USSR, why not? To ally with Britain and France, and to contain Germany. Not one-sided guarantees, of course.

I was actually trying to point that such sudden swings in behaviour are rarely worth any trust. Both for Beck and for us, as observers from the distance.

It would look even more suspicious, but it doesn't make sense, since USSR in fact didn't have agreement with Poland.

Neither did Britain, mind you. Their guarantees were the first case of actual engagement. Let us conveniently forget Polish-Soviet non-agression pact, some Litwinow's diplomatic children, Briand-Kellog fatamorganas and so on. So it's true, there was no Polish-Soviet mutual help - like agreement. Probably for a reason...

Agree with bolder part.
Considering that such scenario was an utter nonsense and impossibility, Soviet fear looks more interesting. Public opinion would eat Beck alive for bendig to Hitler's will, that's one of the few certain points in this period. There was no real incentive whatsoever for joining the Axis. Yet again what was the Soviet offer worth anyway? Was it sincere "we will fight together" or simply "let us cloud their judgement before it's too late". Time told even as allies Soviets weren't really interested in adhering to the spirit of the deals.

And his primary target was... forgot. Probably, Poland? The weakest opponent with unresolved border disputes?
Nah. His primary target would be decapitating remains of Versailles. By all means necessary and tactics relying on the least blind faith possible. SU switched "blind faith" to "risky".

From Hitler perspective, the pact prevented for some time (1940) possible Soviet-British alliance. The interesting fact that he was right. Germany got a time to get France, Denmark, Norway, etc.
Yeah, that was exactly my point... From his perspective he got what he wanted and paid practically nothing. And world war was the price of the whole deal.

Also, I don't see the reason to give half of Poland to the country, he was going to attack right after. To make the quest more challenging?
History of warfare and diplomacy is filled with such examples. And Stalin was the paranoid one, not me:)

Also, you sort of contradict with your previous statement: if pact was just a piece of paper, the reasoning of Soviet side which you gave previously, becomes senseless.

Uh... By spitting on Munich Treaty so quickly Hitler has shown clear contempt for paper treaties. Even the Brits, even Chamberlain got it. Again, Stalin was a paranoid one. And he believed? Or was the incentive simply too strong? Reclaim, reclaim!


How many kilometers? May be ~300 km would be more correct estimation? 300 km longer supply lines, farther away air support. In conditions where goal was to capture as much of European part of the USSR as possible for a few weeks - not to allow Soviets to complete mobilization?

I read and reread what i know about Barbarossa. I see a position with no meaningful defenses, with ridiculous terrain conditions (huge swamps are cutting Soviet positions right in half) and the grave of the huge part of the Red Army. You see the significant part of slowing German advance. And base your point only on the comparison with thousands and thousands kilometeres remaining? If that's not ex-post, I don't know what is. It's beyond me how the one can predict decisive value of indefensible, unfriendly, much too developed land (German armour speeding through), but forget or screw almost everything else. doesn't add up.

What if he was sure the attack will not happen in June 1941? Totally impossible? According to his orders, no.
According to massive amount of intelligence and naked proofs of coming invasion? I mean, there's an easy explanation: he was sure Germans were simply bullying him into submission. So he suddenly started to search for the plan within plan? How come he did not do that before?


Fixed and became wrong. France had much more powerful forces on the Western border of Germany, when more than half of German forces were in Poland. I already posted the table:
[nooo, just killed it once again...]

You probably missed it. har har har ;)

I really don't want to be defender of the French HQ, but you're simply stubborn with throwing some bare numbers without regard for everything else. Siegfried Line rings a bell? Rhine? No spearheads in French army means I world war style attacks against bloody machineguns again? In France? No drive through Belgium. No offensive doctrine. Low morale - yeah, you have to consider those as commander when you do not have NKVD parties in the back shooting at retreating and/or sending families to Siberia. Obsolete air power. Scattered tanks. Immobile and blind/deaf HQ.

Yeeah, there are numbers. And there is reality. And you certainly are aware of Soviet numerical superiority over the Germans in 1941, 1942, 1943...

If you replace "justified" with "sensible", your statement will be correct. So we finally decide to choose "realpolitik" option? Good enough for me.

red_elk
Aug 28, 2009, 11:00 AM
In general, about your position.
You seem to think that Western Allies signing Munich treaty fought for world peace, whereas USSR, signing M-R pact was warmonger. Correct me if I'm wrong. In fact, in both cases Allies and USSR tried to prevent war for themselves, at least for some time. I don't understand how giving Hitler Czekhoslovakia, weapons factory, could serve for peaceful purposes, do you?
"There will be no war, but there will be such a fight for world peace so that everything around will be destroyed."
(С) M. Bulgakov.

23rd August: western delegates announce in Moscow that "In case of multilateral action against the agression Polish - Soviet military cooperation is not impossible, the conditions can be set".
It means that negotiations were at the same point where they started. Do you expect USSR to agree to protect Poland without getting something instead? Like mutual defense agreement with Allies?

This was coming directly from Beck. Meanwhile French government orders delegates to sign the agreement even regardless of Polish stance. In response Woroshilov (sp?) explains that there's a need for change in Soviet policy and the negotiations are over and the Polish refusal (sic) to negotiate was the main cause.
Voroshilov openly said negotiations are over??? Are you sure? :)

19th August - Molotow invites Ribbentrop to Moscow. This is repeated by Stalin 21st. Project of the treaty is being finished by some underlings so it's signed practically at the spot.
It was German initiative, to start negotiations with the USSR in general, and visit of Ribbentrop to Moscow in particular. And Soviets postponed visit to 23-rd August which caused German discontent (because Germans planned attack already in 26-th). Did you know this?

Considering that such scenario was an utter nonsense and impossibility, Soviet fear looks more interesting. Public opinion would eat Beck alive for bendig to Hitler's will, that's one of the few certain points in this period. There was no real incentive whatsoever for joining the Axis. Yet again what was the Soviet offer worth anyway? Was it sincere "we will fight together" or simply "let us cloud their judgement before it's too late". Time told even as allies Soviets weren't really interested in adhering to the spirit of the deals.
Doesn't matter as since German's would not attack if USSR joined British-French-Polish alliance. They will be in too much unfavourable position then.

Nah. His primary target would be decapitating remains of Versailles. By all means necessary and tactics relying on the least blind faith possible. SU switched "blind faith" to "risky".
Don't you see that I'm talking about military target, and your answer is about political one?

Yeah, that was exactly my point... From his perspective he got what he wanted and paid practically nothing. And world war was the price of the whole deal.

History of warfare and diplomacy is filled with such examples. And Stalin was the paranoid one, not me:)

Uh... By spitting on Munich Treaty so quickly Hitler has shown clear contempt for paper treaties. Even the Brits, even Chamberlain got it. Again, Stalin was a paranoid one. And he believed? Or was the incentive simply too strong? Reclaim, reclaim!
If agreement was just a piece of paper for Hitler, how it lead to start of war? I'm not agree it was just a piece of paper for everybody. It assured both sides that they are not going to attack each other immediately after signing and for some time more.

I read and reread what i know about Barbarossa. I see a position with no meaningful defenses, with ridiculous terrain conditions (huge swamps are cutting Soviet positions right in half) and the grave of the huge part of the Red Army. You see the significant part of slowing German advance. And base your point only on the comparison with thousands and thousands kilometeres remaining? If that's not ex-post, I don't know what is. It's beyond me how the one can predict decisive value of indefensible, unfriendly, much too developed land (German armour speeding through), but forget or screw almost everything else. doesn't add up.
You state here that there were no meaningful defences, and right after that, wrote about Soviet numerical superiority in 1941. Where was that numerical superiority located? In Vladivostok?
BTW, both statements are incorrect - Soviet defensive forces in Western districts of USSR in June 1941 were comparable with German offensive forces. Slightly more numerically, about 10%. Meaningful defenses? In fact it turned out to be almost like that - but it certainly was not planned by Soviet government to have several millions casualties in first months of war. Yes, for Blitzkrieg difference between 700 km and 1000 km can be crucial, provided defensive side have enough forces to recover casualties. In our case, lack of this buffer zone would most likely lead to fall of Moscow with all the consequences.

According to massive amount of intelligence and naked proofs of coming invasion? I mean, there's an easy explanation: he was sure Germans were simply bullying him into submission. So he suddenly started to search for the plan within plan? How come he did not do that before?
Intelligence reports were often controversial, Germans postponed start of attack themselves. Nobody doubted they will attack, exact time was predicted incorrectly.

I really don't want to be defender of the French HQ, but you're simply stubborn with throwing some bare numbers without regard for everything else. Siegfried Line rings a bell?
No, it was uncompleted and did not have serious defensive value.

No spearheads in French army means I world war style attacks against bloody machineguns again? In France? No drive through Belgium. No offensive doctrine. Low morale - yeah, you have to consider those as commander when you do not have NKVD parties in the back shooting at retreating and/or sending families to Siberia. Obsolete air power. Scattered tanks. Immobile and blind/deaf HQ.
No spearheads? Germans didn't have spearheads on Western border - that's for sure :)
Check Saarbrucken French advance, and retreat. They simply didn't want to fight over Poland.

Yeeah, there are numbers. And there is reality. And you certainly are aware of Soviet numerical superiority over the Germans in 1941, 1942, 1943...
See above.

So we finally decide to choose "realpolitik" option? Good enough for me.
Would you be so kind to show me which my words make you think that I chose realpolitik or didn't choose realpolitik before, or been talking about justification?
I brought Churchill's quote - where did you find my words about his justification of Stalin? Point with finger, I don't see them.

przemuch
Aug 28, 2009, 01:14 PM
In general, about your position.
You seem to think that Western Allies signing Munich treaty fought for world peace, whereas USSR, signing M-R pact was warmonger. Correct me if I'm wrong. In fact, in both cases Allies and USSR tried to prevent war for themselves, at least for some time. I don't understand how giving Hitler Czekhoslovakia, weapons factory, could serve for peaceful purposes, do you?

Um... I specifically made a "broad enough?" post to say just about that... Yeah, West was interested in getting peace at any price, even at the cost of humiliation, so it would seem. The phrase "for the world peace" seem to suggest there was something awfully noble about it in contrast to some "egoistic" securing peace "for themselves". Instead I repeat: securing peace was the most useful outcome for the Versailles powers. Again, not talking about some moral victory.

Soviet Union had failed to include itself into Versailles structure at a proper position during interwar. No recognition strong enough (for its potential) has been achieved, practically no external claim of SU was satisfied - opposed ie. to Hitler's demands. Stalin talked again and again that the peace is not necessarily the final value for bolsheviks. And the concept of sending Hitler to battle the West to finish off the remains clearly suggest where the peace was in SU calculations. I said that before - in my first post here - while SU was no Hitler-like warmonger, keeping peace at any price was nowhere near its vital interest of switching balance of power.

And about Munich: I thought weapons factory were taken by Germans after they actually spat on the treaty? Regardless, you seem to dispute with apeeasement logic. At the same time it pains me to repeat a mockery: let's prevent a war with our enemy by giving him plenty of resources he wouldn't have any other way, by providing "safe back" assurance, by letting him smash the order and then battle him at the peak of his power. Here, I made ex-post mockery for MR. As any ex - post its weak link is predicting unpredictable at the time. How exactly it was suddenly predictable to the "300 kilometers" detail? Answer should be obvious. [/QUOTE]


It means that negotiations were at the same point where they started. Do you expect USSR to agree to protect Poland without getting something instead? Like mutual defense agreement with Allies?

Um...no? Considering Poland stubbornly (though rather understandably if we switch off ex-post omniknowledge) refused to even talk about anything concerning letting Soviet forces inside, it was a significant step forward.

Voroshilov openly said negotiations are over??? Are you sure? :)
I was rather specific. He even explained why it was impossible to achieve anything. And delegates returned to their countries.

It was German initiative, to start negotiations with the USSR in general, and visit of Ribbentrop to Moscow in particular. And Soviets postponed visit to 23-rd August which caused German discontent (because Germans planned attack already in 26-th). Did you know this?

They postponed it even to 26-27th which caused Hitler himself to intervene. In bargaining terms it was a sign of true interest in negotiations - "other side seems desperate to talk" equals "he will be making concessions". Again, let's weigh gains. Chance for peace (in the best scenario by scaring Germany into dead stop - happened before in 1934, Hitler openly stated to his subordinates that GErman war machine will be raching final readiness stage in 1941-1943) against chance for concessions unattainable during peace time.

It is interesting that much of Munich bashing came to life (and remains alive now) when historians accepted rather too eagerly Nuremberg stories of German high officials. As if they weren't interested in shifting blame for someone else...

Doesn't matter as since German's would not attack if USSR joined British-French-Polish alliance. They will be in too much unfavourable position then.
We actually agree then? Without nitpicking that Hitler would scream chaaarge after learning there were serious issues about "letting Soviets inside Poland before the war"?
Then I'm truly satisfied.

Don't you see that I'm talking about military target, and your answer is about political one?
Without resorting to Clausevitz... The military target was only a means to a political end. Easy to decide which was the primary one. Hitler would prefer to attack the west. And one of several reasons he changed his mind was the prospect of finishing a threat behind his backs and exchanging it for a SU, that culd be "reasoned with" on the contrary to Poland. How would it be possible to hope for without encouragement from SU? and without real interest of SU in making a deal at the cost of peace?

If agreement was just a piece of paper for Hitler, how it lead to start of war? I'm not agree it was just a piece of paper for everybody. It assured both sides that they are not going to attack each other immediately after signing and for some time more.

The agreement said "no war, really". Hitler said "WAR! I mean, let's prepare for war!" during battle of Britain. Not counting anything less official earlier. It was a piece of paper to him then. It's possible you mean the deal resulted in "no attacking each other" period. But now we have to prove it was the deal itself that made Hitler order the attack years later. And we both know it was no deal, Germany simply used that time in the same manner as SU did. To strenghten their position. to claim territories. To redirect the most of Europe's industrial power against... Stalin.
In the end they came out of it stronger. So if both sides recieved time and bonuses, the Soviet deal of selling peace for time becomes rather crappy one.

You state here that there were no meaningful defences, and right after that, wrote about Soviet numerical superiority in 1941. Where was that numerical superiority located? In Vladivostok?
BTW, both statements are incorrect - Soviet defensive forces in Western districts of USSR in June 1941 were comparable with German offensive forces. Slightly more numerical, about 10%. Meaningful defenses? In fact it turned out to be almost like that - but it certainly was not planned by Soviet government to have several millions casualties in first months of war. Yes, for Blitzkrieg difference between 700 km and 1000 km can be crucial, provided defensive side have enough forces to recover casualties. In our case, lack of this buffer zone would most likely lead to fall of Moscow with all the consequences.

Meaningful defences in acquired territories (meaning: defensive positions, fortifications, favourable terrain etc). How could they be anyway, there was no time to build them, but that was pretty much common knowledge before the MR. And again: you insist that "the other war" with SU would be simply mirror image of 1941. I'm trying to say that there were waaaay more important elements inside that equation than 300 km. Surprise attack. Soviet forces divided and still travelling from eastern parts. Stalin's Line demolished with no good reason. Change any of this and the war becomes completely different.

And who said that the fall of Moscow would be so certain, especially in the middle of THAT winter? Germans were spitting their lungs long before Tula.


Intelligence reports were often controversial, Germans postponed start of attack themselves. Nobody doubted they will attack, exact time was predicted incorrectly.

All of this seems reasonable. The reaction of Stalin was not. And considering the level of infiltration of Soviet intelligence, there was no way in hell Germans could look controversial in concentrating so much power in the east.


No, it was uncompleted and did not have serious defensive value.
In WW II terms certainly. I'd say it was completed just enough to delay numerically superior enemy infantry, attacking in WW I style.


No spearheads? Germans didn't have spearheads on Western border - that's for sure :) Yeah;) Neither did Allies and they were the one needing it when attacking.

Check Saarbrucken French advance, and retreat. They simply didn't want to fight over Poland.

Already done, no controversy there: why do you think I feel awkward defending the French?:P But while you accent unwillingness, I prefer inability - though unwillingness was pretty much true when it came about statistical French soldier. Why on earth would he be willing to die for Poland anyway? Seriously, check the calendar. Assuming no SU agression comes, Polish forces are left with sizable territory, but decimated numbers, dissolving supplies and organization. They can be held in check by partial German force, there would be no real priorities in claiming Polesie's swamps. And now you gave German tanks mostly obsolete French army outside their Maginot Line (meaning: "on the platter"). It's pretty grim even without SU reaction. Now include 17.09. Suddenly no Germans are needed in the eastern territories.

Something along this lines actually happened. Germans were withdrawing to give Soviets their promised land. Between those forces were marching the last sizable remains of Polish armies, fighting both sides, but following last order of Smigly and prioritizing Germans. Just let Soviet army deal with them and you have free hand in the west several days after supposed French offensive. With German logistic capabilities and railroad network. Even German army would achieve nothing attacking short border and finished -enough Siegfred line in that little amount of time. Again - this scenario gives French more honourable way. But still honourable defeat. With their ultradefensive doctrine it was way too risky as opposed to dealing with Germany in several years in WWI exhaustion style. Hey, I guess they didn't count for SU material support for Hitler either...

Would you be so kind to show me which my words make you think that I chose realpolitik or didn't choose realpolitik before, or been talking about justification?
I brought Churchill's quote - where did you find my words about his justification of Stalin? Point with finger, I don't see them.

Eh, so close, so good:/

Semantics. You choose cold, rationalized "sensible" over morally empowered "justifiable". I know it was too pretty to be true ;)





I think we succeeded in making this thread completely unreadable. More walls of text, morrreeee :D

red_elk
Aug 28, 2009, 02:16 PM
Um... I specifically made a "broad enough?" post to say just about that... Yeah, West was interested in getting peace at any price, even at the cost of humiliation, so it would seem.
Peace at any price for them, not a peace in general. I don't see how Allies tried to prevent German conflict with the USSR and I would be surprised if they did try. As I already stated, Britain gave some signals to Germany that they will not attack in case of German aggression against Poland - and they did not in reality.

Um...no? Considering Poland stubbornly (though rather understandably if we switch off ex-post omniknowledge) refused to even talk about anything concerning letting Soviet forces inside, it was a significant step forward.
What significant step? They kept discussing in terms - you should protect Poland - you should give right of passage and security guarantees against Germany instead.

They postponed it even to 26-27th which caused Hitler himself to intervene. In bargaining terms it was a sign of true interest in negotiations - "other side seems desperate to talk" equals "he will be making concessions". Again, let's weigh gains. Chance for peace (in the best scenario by scaring Germany into dead stop - happened before in 1934, Hitler openly stated to his subordinates that GErman war machine will be raching final readiness stage in 1941-1943) against chance for concessions unattainable during peace time.

It is interesting that much of Munich bashing came to life (and remains alive now) when historians accepted rather too eagerly Nuremberg stories of German high officials. As if they weren't interested in shifting blame for someone else...
So, talks about M-R started much later than Soviet-Allies talks. And there are no much evidences of Soviet especial interest to prefer Germany over Allies, rather the opposite.

We actually agree then? Without nitpicking that Hitler would scream chaaarge after learning there were serious issues about "letting Soviets inside Poland before the war"?
Then I'm truly satisfied.
Such agreement was not signed. And Soviet offers were not something impossible to fulfill - negotiations broke not because of Soviet position.

The agreement said "no war, really". Hitler said "WAR! I mean, let's prepare for war!" during battle of Britain. Not counting anything less official earlier. It was a piece of paper to him then. It's possible you mean the deal resulted in "no attacking each other" period. But now we have to prove it was the deal itself that made Hitler order the attack years later. And we both know it was no deal, Germany simply used that time in the same manner as SU did. To strenghten their position. to claim territories. To redirect the most of Europe's industrial power against... Stalin.
In the end they came out of it stronger. So if both sides recieved time and bonuses, the Soviet deal of selling peace for time becomes rather crappy one.
You didn't answer. If agreement was a piece of paper for Hitler, how it lead to war? May be he would attack Poland anyway, with or without pact? And buying time did not look unreasonable from Soviet perspective - just look at the Soviet military buildup in 1939-1941. Nobody expected such quick defeat of France.

Meaningful defences in acquired territories (meaning: defensive positions, fortifications, favourable terrain etc). How could they be anyway, there was no time to build them, but that was pretty much common knowledge before the MR. And again: you insist that "the other war" with SU would be simply mirror image of 1941. I'm trying to say that there were waaaay more important elements inside that equation than 300 km. Surprise attack. Soviet forces divided and still travelling from eastern parts. Stalin's Line demolished with no good reason. Change any of this and the war becomes completely different.
The elements, such as surprise attack, were indeed more important, but they were not related to M-R pact. 300 km buffer zone relates directly.

And who said that the fall of Moscow would be so certain, especially in the middle of THAT winter? Germans were spitting their lungs long before Tula.
Remind me, please, where was front line in September 1941? Shift the line 300 km eastward. Oversimplification, I know, but it will give the general idea. That's about "middle of that winter".

About the French-German front, don't see much disagreement. They did not fight despite their agreement with Poland. Everything else is about finding excuses for them.

przemuch
Aug 28, 2009, 03:08 PM
Peace at any price for them, not a peace in general. I don't see how Allies tried to prevent German conflict with the USSR and I would be surprised if they did try. As I already stated, Britain gave some signals to Germany that they will not attack in case of German aggression against Poland - and they did not in reality.

That last piece is suspiciously hard to find in peer reviewed literature of the subject. Should we discuss Suworov's claims he had access to some secret documents as well? If you base the whole point on such awkward information...

And without it? Preventing war with Poland equals preventing war with SU. Simple.


What significant step? They kept discussing in terms - you should protect Poland - you should give right of passage and security guarantees against Germany instead.
If you insist that changing stance from "we will not hear about this" to "all right, we can accept the cooperation, just set the terms", then it's hard to argue.

Add "in your own interest" to "you should" parts. And what part of "suicide" you do not understand? No premptive entering , period. Funny thing, what happened later in Pribaltica with preemptive clause in practice only supports such suspisious stance of Polish government. Not forgetting 20 years of unstable eastern borders and not exactly inspiring record of Soviet rule...

So, talks about M-R started much later than Soviet-Allies talks. And there are no much evidences of Soviet especial interest to prefer Germany over Allies, rather the opposite.

Nope. talks about signing a treaty - in general - started in spring. And if we overstretch Soviet - Allies talks to a point of accepting any collective security reference we are back in times of Litwinov protocol. How about taking into account really important issue: international situation at the time? Fall of Munich comes to mind.

What other evidence do you need? you already have read again and again without any word of protest: West could not offer to SU what it wanted and what Germans could. It was a predefined value in negotiations: no one would be stupid enough to dismantle the political construct in order to save the same construct. Also in case of Versailles order. So when Hitler showed real interest in coming to the table with those infernal Soviets he hated so much, it was finished.

The real gains for SU from talks with the West? They were simply more important to get for Germany. Why do you think diplomatic negotiations are often conducted simultaneously, with feigns and desinformation?

Such agreement was not signed. And Soviet offers were not something impossible to fulfill - negotiations broke not because of Soviet position.

I'd rather know whether those Soviet demands were truly necessary especially considering Poland defensive capabilities terrain - wise. Most favourable positions in the central part, filled with rivers, not so far from Soviet border...

You already know how negotiations broke. It's even sourced in Russian material.

And yeah, while such agreement was not signed I stand by the point: prevent war with a damn paper...


You didn't answer. If agreement was a piece of paper for Hitler, how it lead to war? May be he would attack Poland anyway, with or without pact? And buying time did not look unreasonable from Soviet perspective - just look at the Soviet military buildup in 1939-1941. Nobody expected such quick defeat of France.

Because it gave him free hand, he would not have in other case, obviously. He could consider it a piece of paper, but as long as other side respected it, he had: secure backs, large transports of resources and initiative in his hand. And it was in fact massive help of Soviet Union with defeating France. Both passive (yeah, you can take those forces from the eastern border) and active (here, have some oil and ore).

Again: Soviet buildup was countered with Germany claiming most of Europe, not just France and similar buildup. The state of Soviet army in 1941 showed plenty of guns, but mostly already in German hands...

The elements, such as surprise attack, were indeed more important, but they were not related to M-R pact. 300 km buffer zone relates directly.

Remind me, please, where was front line in September 1941? Shift the line 300 km eastward. Oversimplification, I know, but it will give the general idea. That's about "middle of that winter".

This is no oversimplification. This is mirror image... and with this addendum - an abstract. That's why it won't change much in any of such discussions.

About the French-German front, don't see much disagreement. They did not fight despite their agreement with Poland. Everything else is about finding excuses for them.

How significantly would that part change if I replaced excuses with explanations?
"Excuses" easily and inescapably drive the whole point to the "French: surrendering since 1919" level.

red_elk
Aug 28, 2009, 03:45 PM
That last piece is suspiciously hard to find in peer reviewed literature of the subject. Should we discuss Suworov's claims he had access to some secret documents as well? If you base the whole point on such awkward information...
And without it? Preventing war with Poland equals preventing war with SU. Simple.
Read "Stalin's missed chance", M. Meltyukhov, for confirmation. Preventing war with Poland was not so important as with France.

If you insist that changing stance from "we will not hear about this" to "all right, we can accept the cooperation, just set the terms", then it's hard to argue.

Add "in your own interest" to "you should" parts. And what part of "suicide" you do not understand? No premptive entering , period. Funny thing, what happened later in Pribaltica with preemptive clause in practice only supports such suspisious stance of Polish government. Not forgetting 20 years of unstable eastern borders and not exactly inspiring record of Soviet rule...

Nope. talks about signing a treaty - in general - started in spring. And if we overstretch Soviet - Allies talks to a point of accepting any collective security reference we are back in times of Litwinov protocol. How about taking into account really important issue: international situation at the time? Fall of Munich comes to mind.

What other evidence do you need? you already have read again and again without any word of protest: West could not offer to SU what it wanted and what Germans could. It was a predefined value in negotiations: no one would be stupid enough to dismantle the political construct in order to save the same construct. Also in case of Versailles order. So when Hitler showed real interest in coming to the table with those infernal Soviets he hated so much, it was finished.

The real gains for SU from talks with the West? They were simply more important to get for Germany. Why do you think diplomatic negotiations are often conducted simultaneously, with feigns and desinformation?
I'd rather know whether those Soviet demands were truly necessary especially considering Poland defensive capabilities terrain - wise. Most favourable positions in the central part, filled with rivers, not so far from Soviet border...
USSR wanted not only right of passage, it wanted to have mutual defence agreement, whereas Allies didn't consider USSR as equal partner. Sort of problem. The West was not unable to give Soviets what they wanted - Britain and France simply did not want to accept commies as equal partner in their system. That was the major reason of failure - their unwilling to take into account Soviet requests.

You already know how negotiations broke. It's even sourced in Russian material.
Only from your words. If you have a link to back it up, that would be good.

Because it gave him free hand, he would not have in other case, obviously. He could consider it a piece of paper, but as long as other side respected it, he had: secure backs, large transports of resources and initiative in his hand. And it was in fact massive help of Soviet Union with defeating France. Both passive (yeah, you can take those forces from the eastern border) and active (here, have some oil and ore).
Considering Soviet diplomats and leaders as overwhelmingly stupid, in opposite to German ones, doesn't seem reasonable to me.

Again: Soviet buildup was countered with Germany claiming most of Europe, not just France and similar buildup. The state of Soviet army in 1941 showed plenty of guns, but mostly already in German hands...
Did Stalin have a crystal ball to see all this in 1939?

This is no oversimplification. This is mirror image... and with this addendum - an abstract. That's why it won't change much in any of such discussions.
You still didn't explain, how 300 km buffer zone could not be considered by Soviet leadership as useful for defense? Especially in August 1939, when nobody has seen Blitzkrieg in action yet.

How significantly would that part change if I replaced excuses with explanations?
"Excuses" easily and inescapably drive the whole point to the "French: surrendering since 1919" level.
Defense agreement with Poland and Allies' responsibility for Poland are turning all "explanations" to "excuses".

przemuch
Aug 28, 2009, 04:58 PM
Read "Stalin's missed chance", M. Meltyukhov, for confirmation. Preventing war with Poland was not so important as with France.


USSR wanted not only right of passage, it wanted to have mutual defence agreement, whereas Allies didn't consider USSR as equal partner. Sort of problem. The West was not unable to give Soviets what they wanted - Britain and France simply did not want to accept commies as equal partner in their system. That was the major reason of failure - their unwilling to take into account Soviet requests.

I believe I already stated the attitude of SU towards Versailles system. You've just showed several more reasons for such attitude.

As for SMC its intriguing that such bold claim is practically no issue in the West. Can't really understand why, regardless of diplomatic games it's quite a story. Edit: Was there a source of this information specified? Some intelligence report perhaps? Anonymous then?

Then again, it's consistent with British stance on fleet agreements and their early interwar opinion about Poland as well. The reorientation after Hitler came to real power took care of it.


Only from your words. If you have a link to back it up, that would be good.
I wish I could find this Russian title on googlebooks, but who am I kidding... And that I could scan and send contents of archives at will ;)


Considering Soviet diplomats and leaders as overwhelmingly stupid, in opposite to German ones, doesn't seem reasonable to me.

Pretty much the same here. The difference is, they do not become overwhelmingly stupid in "dismantling Versailles prohibitions" scenario. But buying time with arming Germans scenario...

Did Stalin have a crystal ball to see all this in 1939?

You still didn't explain, how 300 km buffer zone could not be considered by Soviet leadership as useful for defense? Especially in August 1939, when nobody has seen Blitzkrieg in action yet.

Abstracts aside. Stalin had crystal ball and used it for buffer, but forgot about anything else?

Mockery aside. You say blitzkrieg was hard to imagine yet. Then we're back with WWI doctrine, possibly enhanced by better equipment. You will not find space among the most important factors in such warfare. And to save some time (just in case): what happened in 1918 on the eastern front had little to do with military operation.


Defense agreement with Poland and Allies' responsibility for Poland are turning all "explanations" to "excuses".

I'm looking for responsible for WWII. I see some capable of doing something significant - West and SU. West has been already scorned for decades for appeasement. Soviets were already scorned for MR - or so it would seem. Now I can hear and read at many levels about "true story". It smells artificial, something like mood swings in every nation and it's historical consciousness: too much cosmopolitism and humility => overblown pride and so on. Right now pride is paid with gas money.

Interesting how military impossibilities and impracticalities become excuses. And "The end justify the means" - caring for SU best interests, even with ex - post logic.

But that requires tearing down popular conviction about Soviet partial responsibility for starting of WWII. That's why I'm not willing to accept simplifications, they're too often a tool.

red_elk
Aug 28, 2009, 06:01 PM
I believe I already stated the attitude of SU towards Versailles system. You've just showed several more reasons for such attitude.

As for SMC its intriguing that such bold claim is practically no issue in the West. Can't really understand why, regardless of diplomatic games it's quite a story.

Then again, it's consistent with British stance on fleet agreements and their early interwar opinion about Poland as well. The reorientation after Hitler came to real power took care of it.
Attitude of SU towards Versailles system was obviously bad. And failure of British-French-Soviet talks was in large part caused by unwillingness of Allies to include USSR into their system. BTW, check how representative were British and French delegation and what power of attorney did they have. Compare it with Soviet delegation. It should become clear who wanted success of talks more.

Germany before attacking Poland obviously tried to use diplomatic channels to ensure that Britain is not going to attack. They were afraid of RAF. It's strange that you haven't heard about this.

Abstracts aside. Stalin had crystal ball and used it for buffer, but forgot about anything else?
Buffer was already drawn on paper in 23 August 1939.
France was alive and well at the same time - and Stalin didn't have a crystal ball to see what will happen with it in 1940. Build up army while Germany will fight against the rest of Europe? Why not?

You say blitzkrieg was hard to imagine yet. Then we're back with WWI doctrine, possibly enhanced by better equipment.
So what? This is the reason to allow enemy to be closer by a few hundred kilometers?

Right now pride is paid with gas money.
Oh, that's interesting new argument. What you mean?

red_elk
Aug 28, 2009, 06:54 PM
The main reason the Soviets were infuriated about Munich was because they were totally left out of the negotiations. Despite having a guarentee on the protection of Czechoslovakia and being (in their opinion) a major European power at the time.

Stalin had a choice:

1) Side with Poland, Britian and France, even though the Poles didn't trust them and wouldn't give them a right of passage. Even though any German attack on USSR wouldn't recieve any help from Britian and France or....

2) Sign a pact with Germany that would allow her to bully the smaller countries around her and hopefully keep the Germans honest.

I think he made the right choice. France didn't want to fight and Britians initial contribution (the BEF) wasn't much.

Even so the move into Poland was moreso a land grab than a planned buffer zone.
In general agree, though a bit surprised.

przemuch
Aug 28, 2009, 08:25 PM
Oh, that's interesting new argument. What you mean?

It's not an argument. It's a clarification of general observation how Munich&Maginot have become "Oh yeah? And you're beating Negroes" argument in MR subject. So called democracies could do this? What was wrong with SU then? And so on. Other than direct connection to a war no one else has directly helped to happen despite so much downfalls? Yet not so hard to shift the blame, is it? Good thing we have Hitler as the main warmonger still. This RAF piece is quite an illustration for that: missed a few years in this conjecture, but the two-faced Albion remains as an impression;)

I'm not specializing in this period. Any period to be exact. My chosen field is perception of history and related topics. And I was also referring to the point already made by someone else in this thread. That the recent Russian flux of revisionism in this subject is too flashy to miss, especially when backed (at least) by government/army figureheads. There was a time with a sudden burst of information about dirty secrets of stalinism/communism. Predictable swing after decades of suppression of thought. And right now - swinging right back along with the "West will not dictate our history to us" mood. Like "nemo iudex in causa sua" wasn't applying anymore. And "Gas money" is an abbreviation for present regime and its ways of keeping (or buying) stability.

Suddenly SU was just a little different than other countries. And well, when nation needs something better than blurred vision of history... Relativize here (MR), glorify a little there (1941 - 1945), shift the blame or ignore (smaller nations' fate). No wonder chosen people get access to supposedly tightly guarded archives. I will eat my shoes though if anyone will find anything contradicting the mythology in "recently declassified" pieces. And no, Stalin preparing first strike is nothing near it. It actually serves the image of anti-Hitler.

Seriously, with state backed suppression of evil thoughts almost like (who knows, wait for it) "SU responsibility for WWII" it's a knee-jerk reaction to refuse to accept simplifications.

The bottom line is you have your book, which already seems to be a base for several threads anyway. I have sources or (possession-wise) their quotations in academic publications; nothing rare or hard to get though. No one is willing to take the other's data at the face value, especially when they clash with each other. I'm also a bit tired with ex-post reasoning that has to fill such discussions. Thus after my first post there wasn't really much to say that could make the difference.

red_elk
Aug 28, 2009, 09:52 PM
Your problem is that in each point of view which (in your opinion) does not reflect enough all the evilness of Soviet regime, you see attempts of whitewashing, justification and revisionism. Revisionism - even if the argument is about small details, such as "France didn't want to help Poland" or "France could not and also didn't want to help".

And if person who has "Location: Russia" in personal details, dare to say something which doesn't fit good enough to Western (democratic and the only rightful) historical mindset, he is obviously brainwashed victim of Putin's propaganda. Or maybe KGB agent.

For "Gas money" and "State backed suppression of evil thoughts" - ask somebody from Russia, the printing run and distribution of Suvorov's (Rezun's) books in Russian bookshops. Compare them with good historical authors, like Isaev, Meltyukhov, Morozov and others, even well-known, like Gumilev or Kluchevsky. Ask somebody about how often can be seen the TV broadcasts about "horrors of Stalinism" on Russian state TV channels, or about official attitude to the "prophet" Solzhenitsyn. Who, BTW, exaggerated in his books number of GULAG victims by 5-7 times (yes, according to the mythology in "recently declassified" pieces), and never admitted it until his death. You can close your eyes and repeat "mythology", "I don't believe", "impossible", "propaganda", but if the facts and documents don't fit to your theory, the problem is with your theory, not with documents.

For Meltyukhov's book, it has not become a base for any threads yet. I didn't even finished reading it so far. The thread about Warsaw uprising based on the other source.

JEELEN
Aug 29, 2009, 12:48 AM
Just to inform you I have now officially requested this thread to be closed. I warned you before about continually turning the discussion to irrelevant and off-topic details. You appear to be quite unwilling to try and understand views that do not confirm to your own, while similarly expecting others to confirm to yours. That can never result in any fruitful discussion - no matter the subject. If you feel it is that important to expound your own personal views, you are full well entitled to start your own thread in order to do so. However, it is not the purpose of a thread dedicated to the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.

przemuch
Aug 29, 2009, 03:52 AM
Your problem is that in each point of view which (in your opinion) does not reflect enough all the evilness of Soviet regime, you see attempts of whitewashing, justification and revisionism. Revisionism - even if the argument is about small details, such as "France didn't want to help Poland" or "France could not and also didn't want to help".

Again, the difference is crucial, though you refuse to see/accept it. I see you are being mugged, though I don't like you and there's like dozen of people taking part - so I turn away. Which is more important when used in historical settings? That I know I won't be able to help or that I don't care what happens to you? Especially assuming that countries do not have feelings and "want - do not want" can reflect only officials' state of mind or public opinion (um... at least in democratic regime). Then again, if making history is about impressing the audience with the carefully selected pieces, we can count on "those French bastards" as the most sophisticated response. The problem is, many authors seem to be satisfied with such level. Not to mention it was always the level of ANY state propagated history.

Again: if you intend to mix "evilness" into the picture, nothing will come out of it. However, if you refuse to include "small details" like: whether leaders have to care for public opinion, whether leaders have history of accepting atrocities with no visible regard, whether law and civil liberties has been a facade (...) you will not have a clean picture. Not now and not regarding the actions of other countries, especially when talking about those irritating democracies where rather many things were inspired or prevented by public opinion. Those damn voters, why can't they decide to have 99% approval rate... Aren't you (see bold font below for the source of my question) forgetting the true purpose of including "democratic or not" in the analysis?

And if person who has "Location: Russia" in personal details, dare to say something which doesn't fit good enough to Western (democratic and the only rightful) historical mindset, he is obviously brainwashed victim of Putin's propaganda. Or maybe KGB agent.

Who cares about location? I was there watching long ago, when Gelion broke down inasome thread and started showing some conspiracy sites as his sources or whatever. It was only partially important as there was plenty of "unfitting" interpretations. Though who knows, he might even be from Russia ;)

And drama aside, you might want to define brainwashing. Most patriotic versions of history are close to it, though usually the lesser nationalistic sentiment, the smaller amount of soap.

For "Gas money" and "State backed suppression of evil thoughts" - ask somebody from Russia, the printing run and distribution of Suvorov's (Rezun's) books in Russian bookshops. Compare them with good historical authors, like Isaev, Meltyukhov, Morozov and others, even well-known, like Gumilev or Kluchevsky. Ask somebody about how often can be seen the TV broadcasts about "horrors of Stalinism" on Russian state TV channels, or about official attitude to the "prophet" Solzhenitsyn. Who, BTW, exaggerated in his books number of GULAG victims by 5-7 times (yes, according to the mythology in "recently declassified" pieces), and never admitted it until his death. You can close your eyes and repeat "mythology", "I don't believe", "impossible", "propaganda", but if the facts and documents don't fit to your theory, the problem is with your theory, not with documents.

What Rezun's books' treatment indicate anyway? Some fragments even seem like there was several people writing it, not to mention rollercoaster "from interesting observations to overblown thesis". I assume you've seen how his books are being advertised? The Great Defier of The Regime? Not to mention he deals mostly with the "preemptive" hypothesis. Worst case scenario in reception: "Stalin was trying to kick Hitler's butt first. Wow, what a bastard he was, really...".

The last years of Solzhenitsyn and his views were hard enough to decipher, though I find it curious you think he was considered anywhere near prophet level among historians. Especially after his ideological dance in late years.

As for "recently declassified" fetish - it's even better advertisement than The Great Regime Defier. Let me tell you this - in late 80-s and early 90-s there were plenty of accounts that Polish communist officials were conducting huge burnings of archives' contents. The result? Most of new, interesting facts about Polish modern history are being discovered in foreign ones, even though their value differs a lot. Not to mention documents stay classified for several reasons. Can't see them about "Stalin was actually nicer guy than you think" ones - of course except the general rule of time buffer. And if they are to overthrow untold thousands of personal accounts, sources, experiences and memories, then well...

Actually you only need sufficient amount of Pravda to see something was terribly, terribly wrong and insane. Especially when assuming most of its articles were true/partially true.

It's easy to choose from two mindsets.

First one consists mostly: "It happened (SU got time), so it was obviously meant to happen (MR was the way) and those in power made it happen (consciously of course)".

Second one: "These were the goals (claims). These were the settings (european order). And these were boundaries of people in power (knowledge, prejudices, regime boundaries - or none whatsoever)."

In first one we can claim some truth, yay.
In second one there's no place for too many definite answers, especially if you refuse to speculate.

For Meltyukhov's book, it has not become a base for any threads yet. I didn't even finished reading it so far. The thread about Warsaw uprising based on the other source.

Not counting your threads here, I simply see it pops up on this board from time to time.

przemuch
Aug 29, 2009, 12:10 PM
Interesting;) Seems that Russian Intelligence decided to support my assertions about their policy concerning history.

http://svr.gov.ru/material/video7.htm

The juicy parts:

Beck, Jozef - Colonel, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland before the 2-nd World War, the German intelligence agent.
Stanislaw Mikolajczyk - Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Polish emigre government in London, an agent of British intelligence.

Here we go, can you go more official than government's own intelligence? Though I start to believe this is contradiction in terms. Nah, there is absolutely no revisionist stance out there. :lol:


And we are supposed to discuss MR treaty with such aces in their sleeve? Of course, this is also supported by recently declassified documents. Seriously though, they insist they have such documents.

red_elk
Aug 29, 2009, 12:51 PM
The most interesting thing is that our positions regarding M-R are not conceptually different. In brief, you claim that Stalin's intentions were purely destructive - to start war in Europe and to expand Soviet borders. But in addition to that, refuse to see any evidences of Stalin's attempts to avoid German aggression in 1939, by signing this pact, when USSR was not prepared for war.

Except this buffer zone, defensive value of which is quite obvious for me but being stubbornly refused by (only) a few people here, it was intention to redirect German aggression against USSR and buy time for preparation (number of Red army divisions increased by 40% for the period 1939-1941).

And this difference is enough for you to call my position "revisionism".

As for evilness, I was talking about simple rule in the mindset of many people - when talking about USSR and especially about Stalin's decisions, take into account all the facts which confirm his expansionist and aggressive motives, and forget about all the others. This thread is a very good illustration on that.

And drama aside, you might want to define brainwashing. Most patriotic versions of history are close to it, though usually the lesser nationalistic sentiment, the smaller amount of soap.
Some of the authors of books I read, have different opinions about such controversial historical events. Let's not take Rezun seriously, but even authors, mentioned in my previous message, are often disagree on some subjects, including M-R pact. I don't understand fully, which patriotic version of history do you mean. The one which supported by Russian state? Are you sure it fully corresponds to my position? I'm not.

What Rezun's books' treatment indicate anyway?
May be "State backed suppression of evil thoughts"? I can hardly imagine more evil thoughts which still can be taken seriously by many readers.

The last years of Solzhenitsyn and his views were hard enough to decipher, though I find it curious you think he was considered anywhere near prophet level among historians.
He considered as prophet in popular mass-media. The ones which are "state controlled". Something wrong with "Gas money" patriotism may be?

Eskel
Aug 29, 2009, 05:07 PM
There is a lot of ex-post explaination for Stalin's actions in this thread, but don't backed up with any serious facts and documents.
For example: many of those theses are mounted up on assumption that USSR' entering the Poland was not an act of aggression (sic!), but pre-emptive creation of security zone, according to "keep Germans 1000-miles away from Moscow" policy.

I'd like that we discuss facts here, not fantasies. People, please cite some sources, e.g. orders, Stalin's speeches, notes from Politbiuro or HQ meetings, whatever that will show and prove such policy ever existed.
Moreover, Stalin in Treaty of Friendship with Germany (28th September 1939) agreed that Nazis will take bigger part of Poland (thus moving Germany-USSR border to east, closer to Moscow) in exchange for territorial gains in Pribaltica states. Ironic, isnt' it?

Maybe before we start interpretations, we should look into sources to see how Stalin himself recommended M-R pact to Politbiuro? This will clearly show his intentions.
The text of his speech is below:


Stalin's speech to the Politburo on 19 August 1939, reconstructed from renderings in Novyi Mir, Moscow, and Revue de Droit International, Geneva


The question of war and peace has entered a critical phase for us. Its solution depends entirely on the position which will be taken by the Soviet Union. We are absolutely convinced that if we conclude a mutual assistance pact with France and Great Britain, Germany will back off from Poland and seek a modus vivendi with the Western Powers. War would be avoided, but further events could prove dangerous for the USSR.


On the other hand, if we accept Germany's proposal, that you know, and conclude a non-aggression pact with her, she will certainly invade Poland, and the intervention of France and England is then unavoidable. Western Europe would be subjected to serious upheavals and disorder. In this case we will have a great opportunity to stay out of the conflict, and we could plan the opportune time for us to enter the war.



The experience of the last 20 years has shown that in peacetime the Communist movement is never strong enough for the Bolshevik Party to seize power. The dictatorship of such a Party will only become possible as the result of a major war.



Our choice is clear. We must accept the German proposal and, with a refusal, politely send the Anglo-French mission home.



It is not difficult to envisage the importance which we would obtain in this way of proceeding. It is obvious, for us, that Poland will be destroyed even before England and France are able to come to her assistance. In this case Germany will cede to us a part of Poland… Our immediate advantage will be to take Poland all the way to the gates of Warsaw, as well as Ukrainian Galicia.



Germany grants us full freedom of action in the Pribaltic/three Baltic States and recognizes our claim on Bessarabia. She is prepared to acknowledge our interests in Romania Bulgaria and Hungary.

Yugoslavia remains an open question, the solution of which depends on the position taken by Italy. If Italy remains at the sides of Germany, then the latter will require that Yugoslavia be understood as her zone of influence, and it is also by Yugoslavia that she will obtain access to the Adriatic Sea. But if Italy does not go with Germany, then the latter will depend on Italy for her access to the Adriatic Sea, and in this case Yugoslavia will pass into our sphere of influence.



This in case that Germany would emerge victorious from the war. We must, however, envisage the possibilities that will result from the defeat as well as from the victory of Germany. In case of her defeat, a Sovietization of Germany will unavoidably occur and a Communist government will be created. We should not forget that a Sovietized Germany would bring about great danger, if this Sovietization is the result of German defeat in a transient war. England and France will still be strong enough to seize Berlin and to destroy a Soviet Germany. We would be unable to come effectually to her assistance/to the aid of our Bolshevik comrades in Germany.



Therefore, our goal is that Germany should carry out the war as long as possible so that England and France grow weary and become exhausted to such a degree that they are no longer in a position to put down a Sovietized Germany.



Our position is this. Maintaining neutrality and waiting for the right time, the USSR will presently assist Germany economically and supply her with raw materials and provisions. It goes without saying that our assistance should not exceed a certain limit; we must not send so much as to weaken our economy or the power of our army.



At the same time we must carry on active Communist propaganda in the Anglo-French bloc, and predominantly in France. We must expect that in that country in times of war, the Party should quit the legal means of warfare and turn underground. We know that their work will demand much money/great sacrifices, but we must agree without hesitating to these sacrifices/our French comrades will not hesitate. Their first task will be to decompose and demoralize the army and the police. If this preparatory work is fulfilled properly, the safety of Soviet Germany will be assured, and this will contribute to the Sovietization of France.



For the realization of these plans it is essential that the war continue for as long as possible, and all forces, which we have available in Western Europe and the Balkans, should be directed toward this goal.



Now let us consider the second possibility, a German victory. Some think that this would confront us with a serious danger. There is some truth in this, but it would be a mistake to regard the danger as so close at hand or as great as has been proposed.



If Germany should prove to be victorious, she will leave the war too weakened to start a war with the USSR within a decade at least. She will have to supervise the occupation of France and England and to prevent their restoration/restore herself.



In addition, a victorious Germany will have vast colonies/territories; the exploitation of those and their adaptation to German methods will also absorb Germany during several decades.



Obviously, this Germany will be too busy elsewhere to turn against us. There is one additional thing that will strengthen our safety. In a conquered France, the French Communist Party will always be very strong. A Communist revolution will unavoidably break out, and we will be able to exploit the situation and to come to the aid of France and make her our ally. In addition, all the nations that fall under the "protection" of a victorious Germany will become our allies. This presents for us a broad field of action for the initiation of world revolution.


Comrades, I have presented my considerations to you. I repeat that it is in the interest of the USSR, the workers' homeland that a war breaks out between the Reich and the capitalist Anglo-French bloc. It is essential for us/Everything should be done so that it drags out as long as possible with the goal of weakening both sides. For this reason, it is imperative that we agree to conclude the pact proposed by Germany, and then work in such a way that this war, once it is declared, will be prolonged maximally. We must strengthen our economic/propaganda work in the belligerent countries, in order to be prepared when the war ends.


More facts, Ribbentrop-Molotov pact text:

Text of the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact

The Government of the German Reich and The Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics desirous of strengthening the cause of peace between Germany and the U.S.S.R., and proceeding from the fundamental provisions of the Neutrality Agreement concluded in April, 1926 between Germany and the U.S.S.R., have reached the following Agreement:

Article I. Both High Contracting Parties obligate themselves to desist from any act of violence, any aggressive action, and any attack on each other, either individually or jointly with other Powers.

Article II. Should one of the High Contracting Parties become the object of belligerent action by a third Power, the other High Contracting Party shall in no manner lend its support to this third Power.

Article III. The Governments of the two High Contracting Parties shall in the future maintain continual contact with one another for the purpose of consultation in order to exchange information on problems affecting their common interests.

Article IV. Should disputes or conflicts arise between the High Contracting Parties shall participate in any grouping of Powers whatsoever that is directly or indirectly aimed at the other party.

Article V. Should disputes or conflicts arise between the High Contracting Parties over problems of one kind or another, both parties shall settle these disputes or conflicts exclusively through friendly exchange of opinion or, if necessary, through the establishment of arbitration commissions.

Article VI. The present Treaty is concluded for a period of ten years, with the proviso that, in so far as one of the High Contracting Parties does not advance it one year prior to the expiration of this period, the validity of this Treaty shall automatically be extended for another five years.

Article VII. The present treaty shall be ratified within the shortest possible time. The ratifications shall be exchanged in Berlin. The Agreement shall enter into force as soon as it is signed.

[The section below was not published at the time the above was announced.]

Secret Additional Protocol.

Article I. In the event of a territorial and political rearrangement in the areas belonging to the Baltic States (Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), the northern boundary of Lithuania shall represent the boundary of the spheres of influence of Germany and U.S.S.R. In this connection the interest of Lithuania in the Vilna area is recognized by each party.

Article II. In the event of a territorial and political rearrangement of the areas belonging to the Polish state, the spheres of influence of Germany and the U.S.S.R. shall be bounded approximately by the line of the rivers Narev, Vistula and San.

The question of whether the interests of both parties make desirable the maintenance of an independent Polish States and how such a state should be bounded can only be definitely determined in the course of further political developments.

In any event both Governments will resolve this question by means of a friendly agreement.

Article III. With regard to Southeastern Europe attention is called by the Soviet side to its interest in Bessarabia. The German side declares its complete political disinteredness in these areas.

Article IV. This protocol shall be treated by both parties as strictly secret.

Moscow, August 23, 1939.

For the Government of the German Reich v. Ribbentrop

Plenipotentiary of the Government of the U.S.S.R. V. Molotov


Order of attack on Poland:


Secret
Order no.005 of the Military Council of the Belorussian Front
to the Troops on the Goals of Red Army's Entry into Western Belorussia
16 September 1939, Smolensk


Comrad Red Army Soldiers, Commanders, and Political Workers!
The Polish landowners and capitalists have enslaved the working people of Western Belorussia and Western Ukraine.
Through the use of White terror, field courts-martial, and punitive expeditions, they are suppressing the revolutionary movement, imposing national oppression and exploitation, and sowing ruin and devastation.
The Great Socialist Revolution gave Polish people the right to secede. Polish landowners and capitalists, having crushed the revolutionary movement of workers and peasants, seized Western Belorussia and Western Ukraine, deprived these peoples of their Soviet homeland, and shackled them in chains of bondage and oppression.

The rulers of the lords' Poland have now thrown our Belorussian and Ukrainian brothers into the meat grinder of second imperialist war.
National oppression and the enslavement of laborers led Poland to military defeat.

The oppressed peoples of Poland are facing the threat of total ruin and extermination by their enemies.
In Western Ukraine and Belorussia a revolutionary movement is spreading. Demonstrations and uprisings by the Belorussian and Ukrainian peasantry in Poland have begun. The working class and peasnatry of Poland are uniting their forces in order to wring the necks of their bloody oppressors.

Comrade fighters, commanders, and political workers of the Belorussian Front, our revolutionary duty and obligation is to render immediate assistance and support to our brother Belorussians and Ukrainians in order to rescue them from the threat of ruin and massacre by their enemies.

In fulfilling this historic task, we have no intention of violating the non-aggression pact between the USSR and Germany. We cannot allow the enemies of the Belorussian and Ukrainian peoples to harness them to a new yoke of exploitation and ruin, or to subject them to massacre and mockery.

We come not as conquerors but as liberators of our brother Belorussians and Ukrainians and the workers of Poland.
1. Order:
1. Units of Belorussian Front shall act decisively to aid the workers of Western Belorussia nad Western Ukraine, moving all along the front in a decisive offensive.
2. In a lightning, crushing blow, rout the lordly-boutgeois Polish troops and liberate the workers, peasants and laborers of Western Belorussia.

Under the slogans "For our happy Soviet homeland" and "For our great Stalin", let us fulfill our military oath and our duty to our homeland.
The orders shall be read out loudly in all companies, batteries, squadrons, escadrilles, and garrisons, starting at 1600 hours, 16 September 1939.

Troop Commander of the Belorussian Front
Army Commander 2nd Rank Kovalev

Members of the Military Council of the Belorussian Front:
Corps Commissar Susaikov
Divisional Commissar Smokachev
Divisional Commissar Gusev
Ponomarenko


Soviet Government Note to the Polish Government:

Soviet Government Note Handed to the Polish Ambassador in the USSR, Waclaw Grzybowski
17 September 1939, Moscow

Mr. Ambassador!
The Polish-German War has revealed the internal bankruptcy of the Polish state. In ten days of hostilities, Poland has lost all its industrial regions and cultural centers. Warsaw no longer exists as the capital of Poland. The Polish government has collapsed and shows no signs of life. This means that the Polish state and its government have, in fact, ceased to exist. Therefore, the agreements concluded between the USSR and Poland have ceased to operate.
Left to its own devices and bereft of leadership, Poland has become a fertile field for all kinds of accidents and surprises, which could pose a threat to the USSR.
Therefore, the Soviet government, which has been neutral until now, can no longer maintain a neutral attitude toward these facts.
Nor can the Soviet government remain indifferent to the fact that its kindred Ukrainian and Belorussian peoples, living on Polish territory, are abandoned to their fate and left unprotected.
In view of this state of affairs, the Soviet government has directed the High Command of the Red Army to order troops to cross the frontier and to take under their protection the lives and property of the population of the Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia.
At the same time, the Soviet government intends to take all measures to liberate the Polish people from disastrous war into which they have been dragged bu their unwise leaders and give them the opportunity to live a peaceful life.
Please accept, Mr. Ambassador, assurances of my sincere respect.

Peoples Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the USSR
V.Molotov


Please take into consideration, that Soviet attack was planned at 6th September first, that Polish government hasnt ceased to exist, that Vistula river was planned defensive position, that Polish still hoped for French offensive that was planned on 18th September, that Polish forces managed to counter-attack in the battle of Bzura, and Warsaw repelled German attacks until 27th September...

red_elk
Aug 29, 2009, 05:41 PM
For example: many of those theses are mounted up on assumption that USSR' entering the Poland was not an act of aggression (sic!), but pre-emptive creation of security zone, according to "keep Germans 1000-miles away from Moscow" policy.

If you mean one of my statements, which one is based on assumption that Soviet invasion of Poland was not an act of aggression? Quote please.

Eskel
Aug 29, 2009, 07:46 PM
My assumption is based not only on which words you have used (intervention, reincorporation, even liberation), but also which you hadnt' used...Agression, attack or invasion being most obviously not present.
More details below.


Red Elk - normal text
Mine - italics

It started with quoting Churchill's:
The point is that he understood the reason for USSR to intervene in Poland - to restrict German occupation zone, to reincorporate Western Ukraine and Belorussia back to the USSR.
"Necessary for the safety of Russia against the Nazi menace".
...
However, it seemed later you sympathize with this statement and tried to back it up with arguments:
Doesn't matter - these territories were not Polish, they were Ukrainian and Belorussian parts of former Russian Empire.
...
One might claim that Poland also ceased to exist in 2 weeks after German attack in 1939. - It is astonishing, how you recalled original arguments Soviet diplomacy used against Poland
...
I said "to reincorporate Western Ukraine and Belorussia back to the USSR". The word "USSR" makes you restless? Replace it with "Soviet state", "Russia" or whatever you want.
...
But if Alaska was forcefully taken from Russia and recaptured back 19 years later, I would call it reincorporation (or liberation, depending on details). No matter on what name Russian state will have - Russian Empire, Soviet Union or Elven Kingdom.
...
Any noticeable action of Allies, or even imitation of such action would prevent Stalin from intervention in Poland.
...
Stalin would intervene only after collapse of Polish organized resistance, and escape of Polish government. - And it is not truth, as SU troops entered Poland on 17th Sept, while Mościcki resigned on 29th, handling power to Raczyński
...
I said, Allies could easily prevent Soviet intervention - but where I said that USSR will occupy Polish territory in that case? - It is quite obvious that USSR wouldnt occupy Polish territories if Allies prevented Soviet intervention, isnt it? We should also clear if terms"Polish territories" and "occupy" has the same meaning for us.
...
Poland didn't want any kind of support from USSR and refused all such offers. And USSR let them fight until organized resistance collapsed and government escaped to London. After Polish army ceased to exist, it wasn't matter much, with whom they were "more inclined" to cooperate. - And it is not truth also, as shown above
...
I'm not proposing anything about status quo - I'm calling capturing back territories which recently were part of country, reincorporation.
...
In brief, my basic points are:
1. The pact, except its obvious intention of expanding sphere of influence and gaining territories for the USSR, had also significant value for defence of the country against supposed German attack, by redirecting German aggression, buying time for prepare and holding German forces further away from vital centers of the Soviet union (Moscow, Leningrad, Kavkaz), in order not to allow enemy to reach them quickly in first assault of the Blitzkrieg.

The only argument against this statement, given here, was that Germans quickly overran the buffer zone. Which obviously doesn't disprove anything - without buffer zone, initial German assault would most likely reach Moscow. The first few weeks, after which Germans advanced for a few hundred kilometers, were enough to complete mobilization. Poland and France did not have this time.
...
The Soviet plan was to keep enemy in ~1000 km from Moscow, making many Soviet industrial centers unreachable from air attacks and quick land invasion, before war begins. - Plan that is not mentioned in known documents
...
In brief, you claim that Stalin's intentions were purely destructive - to start war in Europe and to expand Soviet borders. But in addition to that, refuse to see any evidences of Stalin's attempts to avoid German aggression in 1939, by signing this pact, when USSR was not prepared for war. - I cannot see such attempts either, having read Stalins speech to Politburo, where he made quite clear that he knew for sure what steps should be taken to avoid war

Except this buffer zone, defensive value of which is quite obvious for me but being stubbornly refused by (only) a few people here, it was intention to redirect German aggression against USSR and buy time for preparation (number of Red army divisions increased by 40% for the period 1939-1941).

red_elk
Aug 29, 2009, 08:43 PM
My assumption is based not only on which words you have used (intervention, reincorporation, even liberation), but also which you hadnt' used...Agression, attack or invasion being most obviously not present.

If you want to know my position, why not to ask? It's much more simple than making assumptions, reading whole thread and finally coming to wrong result.

Especially if you are going to slightly twist some of my words to better fit your assumptions, like you did here:

Stalin would intervene only after collapse of Polish organized resistance, and escape of Polish government. - And it is not truth, as SU troops entered Poland on 17th Sept, while Mościcki resigned on 29th, handling power to Raczyński
Read it again, you don't see anything wrong in your interpretation of my words?

About your assumptions, let's put it this way:
Soviet intervention to Poland in September 1939 was an act of aggression which lead to reincorporation (or annexation if you like this word more) of Western Ukrainian and Belorussian territories. The territories which were in similar way annexed by Poland in 1920. Using word liberation is not correct in both cases, because such territories were disputed after collapse of Russian Empire.

innonimatu
Aug 30, 2009, 03:27 PM
Just to inform you I have now officially requested this thread to be closed. I warned you before about continually turning the discussion to irrelevant and off-topic details. You appear to be quite unwilling to try and understand views that do not confirm to your own, while similarly expecting others to confirm to yours. That can never result in any fruitful discussion - no matter the subject. If you feel it is that important to expound your own personal views, you are full well entitled to start your own thread in order to do so. However, it is not the purpose of a thread dedicated to the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.

So basically you're not happy that the interpretation of the pact which you personally support hasn't been paid too much attention. I do notice, looking at your original post, that you basically copied some other guy's opinion.

Every actor of those fateful 1930s admitted that the future of Europe was at stake, and they didn't knew what was going to happen, beyond the likelihood of another general war. It is not, to me, at all surprising that people here are discussing those events leading up to the pact, and that people now do not have the same views - as the people who drove those events also didn't. History is the reconstruction of how the people of a certain time thought, not just a partial narration of how they acted. Different people thought differently, and there cannot be any single "true narrative".

I don't know enough to add anything to this discussion, but I've found it discussion interesting and therefore I publicly ask here that the thread be maintained open.
There is no single, simple interpretation of the pact. If you're so happy with Orlando Figes' opinions that you won't hear anything else, don't post on a public internet forum, where people are expected to give feedback. Threatening to "leave and take the ball home" whenever you're crossed really isn't very nice...

JEELEN
Aug 31, 2009, 09:28 AM
Putin condemns Nazi-Soviet pact

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/46238000/jpg/_46238344_mol-rib1.jpg The pact led to the carving-up of Poland and eastern Europe

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has condemned the Nazi-Soviet pact signed a week before Germany's 1939 invasion of Poland as "immoral".

In a piece for the Polish paper Gazeta Wyborcza, he also expressed sorrow for a Soviet massacre of Poles in 1940.
His words were an attempt to ease bilateral tensions over World War II.
Mr Putin is among several statesmen attending a service in the Polish port city of Gdansk on Tuesday to mark the 70th anniversary of Poland's invasion.
"Our duty is to remove the burden of distrust and prejudice left from the past in Polish-Russian relations," said Mr Putin in the article, which was also published on the Russian government website.
"Our duty... is to turn the page and start to write a new one."
But he added that the Soviet Union had felt obliged to sign the non-aggression treaty due to the failure of Western European powers to present a united front against Nazi Germany.

Katyn regret

Memories of the 1939 pact - in which the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany essentially agreed to carve up Poland and the Baltic States between them - have long soured relations between Warsaw and Moscow.
http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/shared/img/o.gif http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/46243000/gif/_46243370_pactsigning_226.gif
http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/img/v3/inline_dashed_line.gif

Pact that set the scene for war (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8212451.stm)
Viewpoint: The Nazi-Soviet Pact (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8214391.stm)
Media build up to World War II (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8216847.stm)

Within a month of the pact being signed, Soviet troops had invaded and occupied parts of eastern Poland.
"It is possible to condemn - and with good reason - the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact concluded in August 1939," wrote Mr Putin, referring to the two foreign ministers who signed the pact at the Kremlin.
"Today we understand that any form of agreement with the Nazi regime was unacceptable from the moral point of view and had no chance of being realised."
He added that Russian people "understand all too well the acute emotions of Poles in connection with Katyn".
In 1940 Soviet secret police massacred more than 21,000 army officers and intellectuals on Stalin's direct orders in the Katyn forest near the city of Smolensk.
Moscow only took responsibility for the killings in 1990, having previously blamed the massacre on the Nazis.

(Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8230387.stm)

Harvin87
Aug 31, 2009, 02:05 PM
I'm missing something really important I think... If Britain and France had military obligations with Poland.. why they didnt declare war inmediatly to russia after their invasion of Poland? ... can someone quote where the answer to this is ... or explain to me ... thanks

JEELEN
Aug 31, 2009, 06:03 PM
I think it's primarily a matter of chronology.

1 September: Hitler invades Poland
2 September: UK and France issue a joint ultimatum, Hitler ignores it
3 September: UK and France declare war.
16 September: the German army encircles Warsaw.
17 September: USSR invades Poland (in accordance with the unpublished secret protocol).

Now, at this point the Allies could indeed have declared war on the USSR (following an unheeded ultimatum to withdraw from Poland). But would it have made any difference to the fate of Poland? Also, political considerations must have come into play; notwithstanding the Nazi-Soviet pact, Stalin calculated that war with Germany would be unavoidable (though not prior to 1942) and Hitler never relinquished the idea of war with the USSR. The pact was very well calculated: Stalin gained Eastern European territories, while Hitler ensured there would not be a two-front-war.

JEELEN
Sep 01, 2009, 12:20 AM
WWII ceremonies begin in Poland

The dawn ceremony began a day of remembrance in Gdansk

A day of commemorations has begun in Poland to mark the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II.

The first ceremony took place at dawn on Westerplatte peninsula near Gdansk, where a German battleship fired the first shots on a Polish fort in 1939.
Poland's president and prime minister led a sombre ceremony at the fort.
Foreign leaders from 20 countries including Germany and Russia are expected in Gdansk later in the day as ceremonies continue.
At 0445 (0245 GMT) Polish President Lech Kaczynski and Prime Minister Donald Tusk joined war veterans beside a monument to the heroes of Westerplatte.
The ceremony marked the exact time on 1 September 1939 when the German battleship Schleswig-Holstein opened fire at point-blank range on the fort.
At the same time, the German Wehrmacht invaded Poland over three frontiers. The attacks triggered Britain and France's declaration of war against Germany two days later.
In an address, Mr Tusk said the lessons of history should not be forgotten.
"We remember because we know well that he who forgets, or he who falsifies history, and has power or will assume power will bring unhappiness again like 70 years ago," he said.



Important symbol

At the time of the attack by the Schleswig-Holstein - which was moored in the Polish harbour on a friendship visit - Gdansk was known as the free city of Danzig.
http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/shared/img/o.gif http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/46278000/jpg/_46278414_ship_1.jpg
http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/img/v3/inline_dashed_line.gif

Watching the start of World War II (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8225093.stm)
Pact that set the scene for war (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8212451.stm)
UK service to mark evacuations (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8229571.stm)

The 182 Polish troops defending the Polish fort were expected to resist for about 12 hours. Despite coming under fire from the air, sea and land, they held out against a force of more than 3,000 Germans for seven days.
According to a survey published on Monday, Westerplatte is the most important symbol of Polish resistance in the whole of the war.
A wreath-laying ceremony will take place later in the day and, of the speeches expected throughout the ceremonies, it is Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's which is the most keenly anticipated in Poland, reports the BBC's Adam Easton, in Gdansk.
According to the historian Professor Pawel Machcewicz, the Poles are expecting some sort of gesture from Mr Putin.



Thorny relations

Poland's relations with Russia are currently thornier than those with Germany, partly because of differing historical interpretations of events at the start of the war.
Two weeks after the German invasion, the Red Army invaded and annexed eastern Poland under terms agreed in the secret protocol of a Nazi-Soviet pact.
http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/46296000/jpg/_46296878_007780081-1.jpg Mr Putin may make a gesture to ease the tensions over Katyn

In early 1940, the Soviet secret services murdered more than 20,000 Polish officers in the forests around Katyn. For 50 years Moscow blamed the Nazis and only admitted responsibility for the crime in 1990.
Russian courts have ruled that Katyn cannot be considered a war crime and Moscow is still refusing to declassify documents about the massacre.
The temperature was raised further this week with accusations broadcast on Russian state TV which implied the USSR was justified in its invasion of Poland because Warsaw had been conspiring with Hitler against Moscow.
Mr Putin is unlikely to defend this viewpoint, but nor is he likely to offer an apology for the Soviet invasion, although he may make a gesture to ease the tensions over Katyn, our correspondent says.
In an article published in the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza on Monday, Mr Putin wrote: "The Russian nation, whose fate was distorted by the totalitarian regime, well understands Poles' feelings about Katyn, where thousands of Polish soldiers are buried.
"We should remember the victims of this crime."

(Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8230678.stm)

JEELEN
Sep 01, 2009, 12:48 AM
The 1939 Nazi-Soviet Pact is controversial even today, with historians divided over its importance. In the first of a series of articles marking the outbreak of World War II 70 years ago, the BBC Russian Service's Artyom Krechetnikov and Steven Eke analyse the significance of a treaty that helped set the scene for war.


http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/46238000/jpg/_46238344_mol-rib1.jpg The pact led to the carving-up of parts of eastern Europe

Signed on 23 August 1939, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was accompanied by a secret protocol that detailed the reshaping of Europe's map.
Substantive talks on forming a political alliance between Nazi Germany and the USSR had begun that month.
They built on earlier discussions aimed at boosting economic co-operation, and were accompanied by military and even cultural co-operation in the form of exchanges of high-profile delegations.
The pact was signed by German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and his Russian counterpart, Vyacheslav Molotov, in Moscow.
It led to the carving-up of Poland between Nazi Germany and the USSR, as well as the annexation by the USSR of eastern Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and northern Romania.
The western parts of Ukraine and Belarus, formerly Polish territory, were also incorporated into the Soviet Union.
At that point, believe some historians, a war in Europe became unavoidable.



Why Russia signed the pact

Soviet historical approaches currently in favour with Russia's modern-day leadership suggest the treaty:


Allowed the USSR to delay the onset of war with Nazi Germany
Allowed the Soviet border to be moved 200km or more to the west, greatly boosting the subsequent defence efforts against Nazi aggression
Allowed Russia to take under its defence the "blood-brother peoples" - the Ukrainians and Belarussians
Prevented an "anti-Soviet alliance" between the West and Nazi Germany

The records of the politburo meeting held on 19 August 1939 show that Stalin believed that war with Germany could be avoided, should the USSR form an anti-Nazi alliance with Britain and France.
But, he warned, "the subsequent development of events after that would be unfavourable to the Soviet Union".
He told his colleagues that Germany was prepared to offer the USSR "complete freedom of action in the three Baltic countries", and hinted that Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary would be ceded to the USSR as a "zone of influence".
At the same time, talks between the USSR, Britain and France over a co-ordinated response in the event of an attack by Nazi Germany, floundered.
Britain and France would not acquiesce to a key Soviet demand, namely that Soviet troops be allowed free passage across Poland.



Falsified history?

One of the most enduringly controversial aspects of the pact was the Soviet policy to deny the existence of the secret protocol.
http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/46236000/jpg/_46236921_pactpagefinal.jpg The secret protocol was signed by von Ribbentrop and Molotov

The policy built on Stalin's written rejection of claims relating to Soviet-Nazi co-operation, published in 1948 and known as The Falsifiers of History.
It was only in the late 1980s, the era of Mikhail Gorbachev's perestroika reforms, that the Soviet government admitted the truth.
The West never accepted - and viewed as illegal - the incorporation of the Baltic states into the Soviet Union.
Certainly, many people from the Baltic states made their own feelings clear when, on 23 August 1989, more than two million of them linked hands along the entire length of their countries' eastern borders to mark the 50th anniversary of the signing of the pact.
The leading British historian, Orlando Figes, described the pact as "a constant thorn in Russia's relations with neighbouring European states".

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/shared/img/o.gif http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/img/v3/start_quote_rb.gif The pact is the most cynical operation of the World War II http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/img/v3/end_quote_rb.gif


Leopold Unger
Polish-Belgian author

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/img/v3/inline_dashed_line.gif

Viewpoint: The Nazi-Soviet Pact (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8214391.stm)

He suggested it continued to underpin the perspective in those states of post-war Soviet oppression.
The respected Polish-Belgian author Leopold Unger referred to the pact as the "most cynical operation of the World War II, and the founding document of the post-war Soviet empire in Europe".
Russian state archives do not allow historians unfettered access to the documents detailing Nazi-Soviet co-operation.
In early August, Russia's normally secretive SVR (foreign intelligence service) issued a rare statement asserting that the USSR had "had no other option than to sign" the pact.
The ultimate blame, it claimed, lay with Britain and France, for scuppering the tripartite negotiations in the summer of 1939.
This statement came just weeks after the Russian defence ministry published an essay by a high-ranking official, in which it was suggested that Poland was ultimately responsible for World War II, by refusing to acquiesce to "legitimate" Nazi territorial demands.



Revisionist analysis?

Does the appearance of such views suggest that a revisionist analysis of the pact is becoming widespread in the Russian establishment?
http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/46236000/jpg/_46236920_stalinribbentrop.jpg Russia now says Stalin had "no option" but to sign the pact

And is this linked to current, apparently official, efforts to rehabilitate Stalin as a "great statesman" - even if his victims are also recognised?
Alexander Dyukov, a young Russian historian who claims Soviet repression has been systematically exaggerated, wrote: "Attempts to compare or equate Hitler's regime with the USSR destroy the single historical focal point - our victory in the war - that holds together our society."
Mark Solonin, a liberal historian, takes a very different view.
"In one short act, Stalin threw Europe into mayhem, and abandoned the Franco-British bloc, whose leaders had already promised Poland security guarantees, to the maniac in Berlin," he wrote.
"After the signing of the pact, he fell into a state that can only be described as foolhardy bravery.
"A European war became unavoidable. It began precisely one week after the signing of the pact."
Russia increasingly maintains that the pact was a strategic document, driven primarily by considerations of self-defence.
It strongly rejects the idea that Soviet collusion with the Third Reich was a factor in the destruction of Europe that soon ensued.

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8212451.stm)

Notes on the reasons given for the pact:



Allowed the USSR to delay the onset of war with Nazi Germany

This is highly dubious; following public statements made by Stalin, war wasn't expected prior to 1942 - while in fact it erupted on June 22, 1941. See also next note.


Allowed the Soviet border to be moved 200km or more to the west, greatly boosting the subsequent defence efforts against Nazi aggression

By annexing the border territories Nazi Germany effectively gained the element of surprise for Operation Barbarossa, as it no longer needed to violate neutral countries' borders in order to invade the USSR - whereas the subsequent forward defense strategy was proved utterly flawd during the 1941 campaign, leading to huge Soviet losses in men, material and territory. In addition, the annexations of previously neutral and independent nations' territories caused antagonism - and can be seen as an important factor in Finland's joining of the attack on the USSR in 1941. See also next note.


Allowed Russia to take under its defence the "blood-brother peoples" - the Ukrainians and Belarussians

See previous note. Also note the following: In 1933 millions of Ukrainians starved to death in an infamous famine, the Holodomor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holodomor) [3] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukrainian-German_collaboration_during_World_War_II#cite_note-2) and in 1937 several thousand intelligentsia were exiled, sentenced to Gulag (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulag) labor camps (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labor_camp) or executed. The negative impact of Soviet policies helped garner support for the German cause, and in some regions, parts of the nationalist (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OUN) minority initially viewed the Germans as allies in the struggle to free Ukraine from Stalinist oppression and achieve independence. (Needless to say that both 'blood-brother peoples' have preferred independence from Russia since.)


Prevented an "anti-Soviet alliance" between the West and Nazi Germany

Plans for such an alliance never existed; not too mention that the signing of the pact cut short ongoing negotiations between the USSR and the UK and France about setting up an anti-Nazi alliance. (As mentioned earlier, Stalin only agreed to this when he had run out of options as his former ally had de facto annulled the Nazi-Soviet pact.)

red_elk
Sep 01, 2009, 09:54 AM
Allowed the USSR to delay the onset of war with Nazi Germany

This is highly dubious; following public statements made by Stalin, war wasn't expected prior to 1942 - while in fact it erupted on June 22, 1941.

Following public statement, made by Stalin after the pact was signed. :rolleyes:


Allowed the Soviet border to be moved 200km or more to the west, greatly boosting the subsequent defence efforts against Nazi aggression

By annexing the border territories Nazi Germany effectively gained the element of surprise for Operation Barbarossa
Annexing, which they were going to do regardless of M-R pact.

JEELEN
Sep 01, 2009, 02:37 PM
Following public statement, made by Stalin after the pact was signed. :rolleyes:

So? You're not arguing against any factor contributing to either WW II in general or Operation Barbarossa in particular. (The latter was, in fact, delayed by the need to bring Yugoslavia - and Greece - under Axis control following a succesful British-supported coup in the former and the fierce Greek resistance against the Italian invasion in the latter. You also seem to have missed that the pact was a necessary factor in making the invasion of Poland possible in the first place, thereby contributing to the outbreak of WW II. Even Russian PM Putin has come to accept that "any form of agreement with the Nazi regime was unacceptable from the moral point of view and had no chance of being realised.") But your misplaced sarcasm on the day that these tragic events are commemorated is duly noted.

Annexing, which they were going to do regardless of M-R pact.

Again, highly dubious - and, I might add, impossible to prove.

red_elk
Sep 01, 2009, 03:02 PM
So? You're not arguing against any factor contributing to either WW II in general or Operation Barbarossa in particular. (The latter was, in fact, delayed by the need to bring Yugoslavia - and Greece - under Axis control following a succesful British-supported coup in the former and the fierce Greek resistance against the Italian invasion in the latter.
Pact was signed in 1939. Barbarossa was launched in 1941. Compare strength of Red Army in 1939 with its strength in 1941.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Barbarossa#Soviet_preparations

You also seem to have missed that the pact was a necessary factor in making the invasion of Poland possible in the first place, thereby contributing to the outbreak of WW II.
For Hitler it was desirable, but not necessary. Germany planned attack on Poland since spring 1939, without trying to agree with USSR until late August.

Even Russian PM Putin has come to accept that "any form of agreement with the Nazi regime was unacceptable from the moral point of view and had no chance of being realised.") But your misplaced sarcasm on the day that these tragic events are commemorated is duly noted.
Yes. If you read original of his article, you should know that he especially condemned Munich and Versailles agreements. And your denial of other European powers' responsibility for WW2, except German and Soviet, is especially misplaced today, on the anniversary of these tragic events.

Eskel
Sep 01, 2009, 03:09 PM
Well, are there any other aspects of M-R pact to mention?
Little summary of my own:
1) Stalin was paranoid, in some eyes "evil" but still brilliant dictator, who in one move (M-R) smashed all other European powers (Germany, UK, France), ensuring USSR become world's superpower to late 80-ties. Contemporary Russia till benefits from his plan, outclassing rest of Europe by few marks of measure
2) M-R was reasonable (for USSR) though immoral - Stalin had opportunity to prevent war and save many millions of lives, but preferred a way of power. In that terms, he cleared the way for Holocaust. But advantages for USSR are obvious - even at cost Russia had to pay, the other lost more.
3) Talking about reasons of WW II, I surprisingly support Russia's POV. Of course, main reason was anti-Versailles stance and interests of Germany, secondary weight reasons were Soviets' communists interests of global revolution, but third - inactivity, opportunism and conformism of the rest of Europe (UK, France and Poland playing particular role in Munich, 1938).

We should also remember that economical depression and injustice of contemporary social model paved the way for totalitarisms.
We should think of this, while governments another time will save skins of financial sharks at a cost of common people, who just pay taxes. Taxes, which strips people of plans, hopes and freedom, thus causing frustration, anger and hatred - or at least indifference toward others.

Yeekim
Sep 01, 2009, 03:48 PM
Pact was signed in 1939. Barbarossa was launched in 1941. Compare strength of Red Army in 1939 with its strength in 1941.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Barbarossa#Soviet_preparations
For the sake of providing some benchmark data, here be strength of German Army in September 1939.

Divisions: 102
Personnel: Could not find accurate data, probably around 1,5 million.
Guns and mortars: Could not find accurate data, 5805 field guns were deployed for attack against Poland.
Tanks: 3466
Aircraft: 3368

Yeekim
Sep 01, 2009, 03:53 PM
Of course, main reason was anti-Versailles stance and interests of Germany, secondary weight reasons were Soviets' communists interests of global revolution, but third - inactivity, opportunism and conformism of the rest of Europe (UK, France and Poland playing particular role in Munich, 1938).
This, pretty much.

However, let us keep in mind that:
Germany needed war to expand.
USSR needed war between Western power to weaken them and to create "revolutionary situation".
France and Britain simply needed to hold on to their victory in WW1 and preserve the status quo.

red_elk
Sep 01, 2009, 04:27 PM
For the sake of providing some benchmark data, here be strength of German Army in September 1939.

Divisions: 102
Personnel: Could not find accurate data, probably around 1,5 million.
Guns and mortars: Could not find accurate data, 5805 field guns were deployed for attack against Poland.
Tanks: 3466
Aircraft: 3368

This is strength of German forces deployed against Poland - ~55% of total German army.
Total strength of armies in 1939:
Germany ~200 divisions
USSR ~130 divisions

In 1941, deployed on Eastern front:
Germany 166 divisions
USSR 190 divisions (of total 316.5)

Number of Soviet divisions increased by 140% (almost 2.5 times) between I.1939-VI.1941.

Yeekim
Sep 01, 2009, 04:51 PM
This is strength of German forces deployed against Poland - ~55% of total German army.
Total strength of armies in 1939:
Germany ~200 divisions
USSR ~130 divisions

In 1941, deployed on Eastern front:
Germany 166 divisions
USSR 190 divisions (of total 316.5)

Number of Soviet divisions increased by 140% (almost 2.5 times) between I.1939-VI.1941.
Umm, no. This is the total strength, unless otherwise mentioned (as with artillery).

red_elk
Sep 01, 2009, 05:06 PM
Umm, no. This is the total strength, unless otherwise mentioned (as with artillery).
You are right, I was mistaken.
Total strength of armies in 1939:
Germany ~105 divisions (61 against Poland, 44 on Western front)
USSR ~130 divisions (~40 deployed on Polish front)

JEELEN
Sep 02, 2009, 12:16 AM
Pact was signed in 1939. Barbarossa was launched in 1941. Compare strength of Red Army in 1939 with its strength in 1941.

So? The majority of that nominal increase was completely lost during the 1941 campaign. Also, you seem to forget that between September 1, 1939 and June 22, 1941 Nazi-Germany overran most of Europe. By contrast the USSR annexed some 200 km in formerly neutral border territories, antagonizing the formerly independent inhabitants of these territories, So, while the USSR should have been in a better military position in 1941, it actually was not.

For Hitler it was desirable, but not necessary. Germany planned attack on Poland since spring 1939, without trying to agree with USSR until late August.

Again: what does this prove?

Yes. If you read original of his article, you should know that he especially condemned Munich and Versailles agreements. And your denial of other European powers' responsibility for WW2, except German and Soviet, is especially misplaced today, on the anniversary of these tragic events.

Yes, I'm well aware of the propaganda value of PM Putin's statements.

Vladimir Putin stirs tensions as World War II commemorated

It was the day Vladimir Putin almost said sorry, the day Angela Merkel reminded the world that Germans had suffered too — a day of death tolls, tales of heroism and martyrdom, warnings against fascism and totalitarianism and triumphalism.
It was also a day when nuance and implication took the place of black-and-white history-telling, but the messages were just as controversial.
Throughout yesterday the Russian Prime Minister tried to show that the Kremlin was not going to bang the big drum of chauvinism — at least, not while he was in Poland. First, in an article for the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza, he declared: “We must learn the lessons of history if we want to have a peaceful and happy future."
Then he told Donald Tusk, the Polish Prime Minister, that “Russia has always respected the bravery and heroism of the Polish people, soldiers and officers who stood up first against Nazism in 1939.”
Then, in his speech on the Westerplatte — where a Polish fort was bombarded by a German cruiser exactly 70 years earlier — Mr Putin condemned any collaboration with the Nazis between 1934 and 1939 as “morally unacceptable and politically and practically senseless, harmful and dangerous”.
He may have convinced some of the other politicians present, but not the Poles. The praise of Polish military bravery struck a cynical note: in 1940, more than 15,000 officers and intellectuals were shot and buried in mass graves in Katyn forest by Soviet units. For decades Moscow claimed it was the work of the Germans and even now refuses to accept that it was a war crime. Joint teams of historians will now study the massacre, according to an agreement reached between the Polish and Russian prime ministers.
As for Mr Putin’s cautious admission that the 1939 pact between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany was morally unacceptable, that was somewhat diluted by his reference to 1934 — the year of Poland’s non-aggression pact with Germany. In effect, he was drawing a moral equivalence between the defensive Polish action and the landgrab of eastern Poland by Stalin five years later. And that many European countries, not just the one led by Stalin, helped Hitler on to the war path.
The Poles had hoped for candour from Russia on this day of all days; instead they got historical relativism. “Huge numbers of mistakes were made by all sides,” said Mr Putin. Was that the beginning of an apology for carving up Poland in 1939? Or just an attempt to deflect criticism from the Baltic states and the Finns who were deported to the gulag when the Red Army moved in?
For President Kaczynski of Poland the day started before dawn — the first German bombardment of the war began at 4.42am — with a few forthright words about fascism and about Russia. Stalin’s invasion of eastern Poland on September 17 1939, he said, was “a stab in the back”. As for Katyn, it had to be treated as a war crime. “Jews died because they were Jews,” he said, “Polish officers died because they were Polish officers.”
With the tension crackling Ms Merkel was barely noticed in the ceremonies, although it was regaded as a significant gesture to invite a German leader. She duly apologised: “I pay tribute to the 60 million people who lost their lives in this war unleashed by Germany. There are no words that could even remotely describe the suffering caused by this war and the Holocaust. I bow before the victims.”
The words were strikingly similar to those she used earlier in the year during a visit to Buchenwald concentration camp, but the Poles applauded the sentiment. They were less certain about her defence of Germany’s efforts to remember the plight of ethnic Germans driven out of their homes at the end of the war. She said that her country could mourn these victims "without wanting to rewrite Germany’s eternal historic responsibility" for starting the war.
It was a day for speech-making about the meaning of history and who owns it. The speeches were crisp but many leaders wanted to offer their thoughts about how the story was changing. It was a long, hot day. But the handful of Polish veterans present refused seats; they preferred to stand. That was how they had been trained.

The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact

— The Nazi Foreign Minister Ulrich Friedrich Wilhelm Joachim von Ribbentrop was eventually hanged for war crimes. Vyacheslav Molotov, the Russian Foreign Minister, gave his name to the “Molotov cocktail”
— Their pact was one of non-aggression between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, but also included a secret clause that divided up Poland and Lithuania
— Article II of the secret protocol stated that: “In the event of a territorial and political re-arrangement of the areas belonging to the Polish state, the spheres of influence of Germany and the USSR shall be bounded approximately by the line of the rivers Narew, Vistula and San”
— Russians said the agreement was propelled by the Munich Agreement of 1938, when France and Britain agreed that Germany could annex bits of Czechoslovakia
Sources: Reuters, Modern History Sourcebook, Times database

(Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/sep/01/russia-poland-nazis-secret-documents)

You'll forgive me if I don't quote the Russian original on an English-language-only site. It's not very good manners to insult the host on a WW II commemoration day. And I'd like to see that quote where I or any source I've quoted deny "other European powers' responsibility for WW2".

rilnator
Sep 02, 2009, 05:52 AM
I'm missing something really important I think... If Britain and France had military obligations with Poland.. why they didnt declare war inmediatly to russia after their invasion of Poland? ... can someone quote where the answer to this is ... or explain to me ... thanks

IIRC the was a clause in the treaty that stated that the aggression towards Poland must be from Germany in order for the French and Britain to decalare war.

The British and French were planning to intervene in Finland against the Russians a few months later but the fall of France shifted their priorities.

red_elk
Sep 02, 2009, 10:24 AM
So? The majority of that nominal increase was completely lost during the 1941 campaign.
Does it mean, this increase was senseless?
The army consisting of 130 divisions would have the same performance as 320 divisions?

Also, you seem to forget that between September 1, 1939 and June 22, 1941 Nazi-Germany overran most of Europe. By contrast the USSR annexed some 200 km in formerly neutral border territories, antagonizing the formerly independent inhabitants of these territories, So, while the USSR should have been in a better military position in 1941, it actually was not.
I was talking about motives of the Soviet side to sign this pact in 1939. In brief, main motives are
- Expansionism
- Defence (Intention to postpone war with Germany and better prepare for it)
French defeat after 2 weeks of hostilities in 1940 and German takeover of the whole Europe were not foreseen in 1939, as you might understand.

Again: what does this prove?
It's you who are proving. The pact was not a necessary condition for Polish invasion, though it made invasion more likely, as I already said.

Yes, I'm well aware of the propaganda value of PM Putin's statements.
Condemnation of Munich agreement is also Russian propaganda for you?

You'll forgive me if I don't quote the Russian original on an English-language-only site. It's not very good manners to insult the host on a WW II commemoration day.
Good insinuation :rolleyes:
I never asked you to quote messages in Russian language (which you apparently don't know) on this English forum. And I don't know why you are pretending that I expected you to use it. If you consider usage of Russian language at some specific day as blasphemous, say it openly, at least you will disclose yourself perfectly.

And I'd like to see that quote where I or any source I've quoted deny "other European powers' responsibility for WW2".
Yes, you didn't deny it openly. Though after several page long discussion, where I repeatedly tried to make you admit Allies' responsibility for starting WW2 (betrayal of Poland and appeasement policy), you never did it, which maked me think you are going to deny this responsibility. Whereas I openly said that M-R pact was amongst the reasons of WW2. If you agree that Allies and USSR share responsibility for WW2, why not to admit it openly, as I did with M-R pact? This discussion seems quite one-sided to me.

JEELEN
Sep 02, 2009, 03:05 PM
Does it mean, this increase was senseless?
The army consisting of 130 divisions would have the same performance as 320 divisions?

Performance is a result from training and experience, not size.

I was talking about motives of the Soviet side to sign this pact in 1939. In brief, main motives are
- Expansionism
- Defence (Intention to postpone war with Germany and better prepare for it)
French defeat after 2 weeks of hostilities in 1940 and German takeover of the whole Europe were not foreseen in 1939, as you might understand.

On expansionism one can easily agree. The defense motive - if it existed - was nullified by precisely the expansionist motive, as I've tried to explain. The motives are contradictory.

It's you who are proving. The pact was not a necessary condition for Polish invasion, though it made invasion more likely, as I already said.

I reckon you mean: failing to prove. The Nazi-Soviet pact secured Germany's Eastern front against possible Soviet aggression, therefore sealing the fate of Poland as an independent nation. (Also, the secret protocol clearly implies such an invasion of Poland.) As such, it can surely be considered a necessary condition - failing it, it would Germany vulnerable to a Soviet attack when facing the Western Allies.

Condemnation of Munich agreement is also Russian propaganda for you?

As you very well know, acknowleding responsibility for the Nazi-Soviet pact by PM Putin coincided with the "release" of "new documents" in Moscow, implying that the first victim of WW II was actually responsible for its own destruction. (I already mentioned Poland also had some small gain from the Munich Agreement.) In retrospect, indeed all 1934-1939 agreements with Germany were ultimately ineffective in avoiding war with Germany and any belief in such an effect was proven to be naive. I don't, however, think that Poland's agreement was motivated in the same way as the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact; for one, it did not include any secret clausule sacrificing neutral, independent nations.

Good insinuation :rolleyes:
I never asked you to quote messages in Russian language (which you apparently don't know) on this English forum. And I don't know why you are pretending that I expected you to use it. If you consider usage of Russian language at some specific day as blasphemous, say it openly, at least you will disclose yourself perfectly.

I did not insinuate, merely remark upon a fact. You, on the other hand, continue to do so here.

Yes, you didn't deny it openly. Though after several page long discussion, where I repeatedly tried to make you admit Allies' responsibility for starting WW2 (betrayal of Poland and appeasement policy), you never did it, which maked me think you are going to deny this responsibility. Whereas I openly said that M-R pact was amongst the reasons of WW2. If you agree that Allies and USSR share responsibility for WW2, why not to admit it openly, as I did with M-R pact? This discussion seems quite one-sided to me.

That's simply not true: I've acknowledged (as I did here) that the appeasement policy was seriously misguided, as Hitler only ever wanted war - something which could have been clear since he published Mein Kampf.

red_elk
Sep 02, 2009, 04:03 PM
Performance is a result from training and experience, not size.
Sure :)
But you didn't answer, was Soviet army significantly improved it's strength for the period 1939-1941? Yes or no?
Does number of tanks, aircraft, artillery mean anything?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_barbarossa#Soviet_preparations

On expansionism one can easily agree. The defense motive - if it existed - was nullified by precisely the expansionist motive, as I've tried to explain. The motives are contradictory.
You never explained how it contradicts - if it allowed to postpone war by 2 years, to significantly increase armed forces' potential, and kept Wehrmacht 200-300 km farther away from Moscow?

The Nazi-Soviet pact secured Germany's Eastern front against possible Soviet aggression, therefore sealing the fate of Poland as an independent nation. (Also, the secret protocol clearly implies such an invasion of Poland.) As such, it can surely be considered a necessary condition - failing it, it would Germany vulnerable to a Soviet attack when facing the Western Allies.
First part of your message only proves that pact was desirable part of German invasion plans, I agree with it. Nazi doctrine of lebensraum in East and their earlier plans of Poland invasion can confirm that eventually they would attack Poland and after that, USSR, regardless of M-R pact.

As you very well know, acknowleding responsibility for the Nazi-Soviet pact by PM Putin coincided with the "release" of "new documents" in Moscow, implying that the first victim of WW II was actually responsible for its own destruction.
I only read some cryptic comments on these documents in Western press, thus I cannot say anything particular about this.
You think these documents are faked?
To make such claims, you must at least clearly understand what the documents are about.

That's simply not true: I've acknowledged (as I did here) that the appeasement policy was seriously misguided, as Hitler only ever wanted war - something which could have been clear since he published Mein Kampf.
So, do you agree that France and Britain have responsibility for WW2, along with USSR and, obviously, Germany? Let's put USA and Poland aside for a moment. I hope we can at least agree on that.

JEELEN
Sep 03, 2009, 02:28 AM
Sure :)
But you didn't answer, was Soviet army significantly improved it's strength for the period 1939-1941? Yes or no?
Does number of tanks, aircraft, artillery mean anything?

As said, these are nominal increases; as such they say nothing about warreadiness. Similar increases can be cited for most major European countries during 1939-1941 and even before. I would argue that the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact lulled Stalin into a false sense of security; the quality of the Soviet armed forces was still appalling in June 1941. By contrast, German armed forces gained experience during 1939-'41 and acquired resources without which an attack on the Soviet Union wouldn't even have been possible.

You never explained how it contradicts - if it allowed to postpone war by 2 years, to significantly increase armed forces' potential, and kept Wehrmacht 200-300 km farther away from Moscow?

You assert it postponed war with the USSR for 2 years, but fail to prove that assertion. As said, war with the USSR would have been suicidal in 1939; it would imply a two-front war. (Also, the Wehrmacht was just as far from Moscow in 1939 as in 1941; the Red Army however was closer to the German border - which was one of the reasons for the huge losses it suffered in the 1941 campaign - again, as said.)

First part of your message only proves that pact was desirable part of German invasion plans, I agree with it. Nazi doctrine of lebensraum in East and their earlier plans of Poland invasion can confirm that eventually they would attack Poland and after that, USSR, regardless of M-R pact.

See above.

I only read some cryptic comments on these documents in Western press, thus I cannot say anything particular about this.
You think these documents are faked?
To make such claims, you must at least clearly understand what the documents are about.

I don't see anything cryptic about the articles I quoted so far; they're in quite plain English and show only relatively mild comment. But here's one that spelles it out:

Fury as Russia presents 'evidence' Poland sided with Nazis before war

Russia (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/russia) today released secret documents from the archives of its foreign intelligence service that it said showed how Poland (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/poland) sided with the Nazis before the second world war (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/secondworldwar) and tried to destroy the Soviet Union.
Russia published 400 pages of documents gathered by undercover Soviet agents between 1935 and 1945, including telegrams, letters and reports intercepted from Polish missions abroad. Their release coincided with the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of war.
The declassified files from Russia's SVR foreign intelligence service allegedly show that Poland was plotting against the Soviet Union in the years preceding the war, which began when Hitler invaded western Poland on 1 September 1939.
Seventeen days later, the Soviet Union invaded eastern Poland. But according to the SVR, Poland was not simply a victim of Soviet aggression, but had been actively pursuing an anti-Soviet foreign policy from the mid-1930s. This included supporting anti-Soviet national groups in Ukraine, the Caucasus and central Asia.
Lev Sotskov, a retired KGB major general who compiled the documents, said there was evidence Poland signed a secret protocol with Germany (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/germany) in 1934. Citing a report written by an unidentified Soviet agent, he said Poland had agreed to remain neutral if Germany attacked the Soviet Union.
His claims provoked uproar at a press conference in Moscow, with Polish journalists jumping to their feet and denouncing the document as a fake. There were also heated exchanges over the role played by Jozef Beck, Poland's foreign minister in 1939, amid unsubstantiated claims he was a German agent.
The "protocol" goes much further than the 1934 non-aggression pact between Poland and Nazi Germany, under which both sides agreed not to attack each other. Sotskov denied that the release of the protocol was a provocative gesture. "We should be glad these things are coming into the open," he said.
Tonight, Polish historians said there was no evidence to suggest such a protocol ever existed. "This is absolute rubbish," said Mariusz Wolos, of Poland's Academy of Sciences. "Nothing similar has ever turned up in archives in Germany. Just because some agent wrote it doesn't mean it's true. There isn't much new here. The documents [released by the SVR] simply confirm what British, German and Russian historians already know." What would be interesting would be to find out the identities of the Soviet Union's agents in Poland. But they aren't telling us."
Asked why Russia had decided to release such contentious material now, he said: "It's part of the struggle for historical memory. Russia is keen to show that it isn't just Hitler and the Soviet Union who were responsible for the war."
The documents show that a group of Polish spies based in Paris took part in a secret operation called Prometheism to incite an uprising in Ukraine, Georgia and other Soviet territories. "We know all about that. It's already written about," Wolos said.
Other documents declassified include a letter from Hermann Göring following a visit to Warsaw in 1937. Göring passed on an assurance from Hitler that Germany wouldn't attack Poland, warning that the real danger to Poland came from Moscow – "not just from Bolshevism but from Russia".
The publication follows the release two weeks ago of documents on the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, signed by the Soviet Union and Germany on the eve of war. Sotskov today repeated his claim that the deal, under which Hitler and Stalin agreed to carve up eastern Europe, "gave the Red Army two years to prepare for the war".

(Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/sep/01/russia-poland-nazis-secret-documents)

You will note that the allegations refer to one unidentified source; that's hardly evidence - not to historians, nor to any court.

So, do you agree that France and Britain have responsibility for WW2, along with USSR and, obviously, Germany? Let's put USA and Poland aside for a moment. I hope we can at least agree on that.

I think that would be obvious to anyone with anything more than fleeting knowledge of WW II. (Personally I think the seeds of WW II were already sown with the Versailles Treaty of 1919.)

Yeekim
Sep 03, 2009, 04:44 AM
As said, these are nominal increases; as such they say nothing about warreadiness. Similar increases can be cited for most major European countries during 1939-1941 and even before. I would argue that the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact lulled Stalin into a false sense of security; the quality of the Soviet armed forces was still appalling in June 1941. By contrast, German armed forces gained experience during 1939-'41 and acquired resources without which an attack on the Soviet Union wouldn't even have been possible.
More importantly:
1) as seen above, USSR already in 1939 had absolute superiority in terms of armed forces. More than two times as many aircraft, 7,5 times as many tanks and so on. Not to mention an industrial base and raw material deposits which dwarfed Germany. They didn't need to be afraid of Hitler. Had war between USSR and Germany broken out in 1939, Germans would have had very poor chances. Not to mention they did not even share a common border, so 1941-style surprise attack would not have been possible.
2) as you said, during these two years, not only Russians grew their army and prepared for war; so did Germany, which also doubled their number of divisions. Mostly, it managed to do so thanks for thousands of tons of raw materials like grain, oil, rubber and manganese provided by USSR. If Stalin's sole wish is to out-compete and out-build Hitler, then why these trade agreements? ;)

Well, you can't liberate Europe from fascism, if fascists can't conquer it at first...

Dragonlord
Sep 03, 2009, 05:59 AM
Well, you can't liberate Europe from fascism, if fascists can't conquer it at first...

:lol:

I think it's pretty obvious what Stalins strategy was: firstly, he had the opportunity for territorial gains in Eastern Europe, spreading the 'benefits' of Communism.
Second, now he had a common border with Germany. This would be a bad thing if he was afraid of an attack - but a good thing if he intended to attack Germany himself.

His miscalculation was the rapidity in which France fell - not his fault, no one else, including Hitler, expected that, either.
If the war with France had proceeded as expected by all the experts, comparable to WWI, I'm convinced Stalin would have waited til Germany's forces were fully engaged in the West, and then used the opportunity to roll up Germany from the East.

IMO, that's also the reason the Soviet forces on the Eastern border were in an offensively oriented positioning, rather than defensive. They had been positioned to take advantage of Germany's war with the West, and when the opportunity passed, Stalin neglected to change the positioning.

If, as Stalin apologists keep stating, he had signed the M-R pact as a defensive measure, he and his forces would not have been so totally surprised by Barbarossa. It only fits when you turn it around: he saw it as an opportunity to attack Germany at some point and didn't expect an attack from Germany til much later, if at all - which was totally logical from his POV, because Germany wasn't ready militarily to take on the USSR. Hitler's megalomania actually worked in his favor here: the attack on the USSR was so stupidly premature, that he ended up surprising Stalin and almost achieved his goals in spite of himself.

Yeekim
Sep 03, 2009, 07:04 AM
@Dragonlord: precisely.
Except one word you used: premature. Never after signing MRP, attacking Poland and getting into war with Britain and France, did Hitler have any real chance against USSR, and none would have arrived also.
He was screwed from the start and waiting further would have made his situation even worse.

EDIT: Also, Stalin probably intended to wait until German troops are trying to cross English Channel - and I doubt that "rolling up" would have stopped at Rhine.

Dragonlord
Sep 03, 2009, 08:30 AM
@Dragonlord: precisely.
Except one word you used: premature. Never after signing MRP, attacking Poland and getting into war with Britain and France, did Hitler have any real chance against USSR, and none would have arrived also.
He was screwed from the start and waiting further would have made his situation even worse.

EDIT: Also, Stalin probably intended to wait until German troops are trying to cross English Channel - and I doubt that "rolling up" would have stopped at Rhine.

Thinking about it, I agree. When I wrote 'premature' I was thinking about the opinion of the German High Command, who thought the German forces wouldn't be ready until 1943/44 - implying they would be ready then. Lacking surprise and after reorganization of their forces after the officer purges, not to mention further years of Soviet weapon production, Germany wouldn't even have gotten as far as it did.

Actually, though, in Barbarossa Germany almost did win through sheer audacity and surprise. Who knows what would have happened if they had actually taken Moscow - and not stupidly also declared war on the US.

Pangur Bán
Sep 03, 2009, 09:04 AM
Who knows what would have happened if they had actually taken Moscow - and not stupidly also declared war on the US.

Nothing. In case you haven't noticed, Moscow is a long way away from the eastern frontier of the Soviet Union, and the US didn't actually invade Europe until the Soviets were already winning. The US invasion had no effect on the balance between the Soviets and the Germans, all it did was stop the Soviets conquering all Europe. If anything, a blood-bath battle for the streets of Moscow, one of Europe's largest cities, may have led to the Germans being defeated earlier, perhaps before the US could invade Europe.

Yeekim
Sep 03, 2009, 09:35 AM
Thinking about it, I agree. When I wrote 'premature' I was thinking about the opinion of the German High Command, who thought the German forces wouldn't be ready until 1943/44 - implying they would be ready then. Lacking surprise and after reorganization of their forces after the officer purges, not to mention further years of Soviet weapon production, Germany wouldn't even have gotten as far as it did.
By 1943, Soviets would most likely have used the "surprise moment" themselves.
Nothing. In case you haven't noticed, Moscow is a long way away from the eastern frontier of the Soviet Union, and the US didn't actually invade Europe until the Soviets were already winning. The US invasion had no effect on the balance between the Soviets and the Germans, all it did was stop the Soviets conquering all Europe. If anything, a blood-bath battle for the streets of Moscow, one of Europe's largest cities, may have led to the Germans being defeated earlier, perhaps before the US could invade Europe.
Again, mostly agreed. Simply taking Moscow did not help Napoleon either. Chances for Germany could have been better, though, if not for their completely idiotic, racially-motivated policies towards Slavs (no, saying they wanted to exterminate them all is bollocks). I mean, what about breaking USSR up and promising some parts of it something like semi-independency? I mean, France, Netherlands, Norway etc were all offered that option and many people there were reasonably ready to cooperate. All they really would have needed to do, was to go easier than Stalin on those "new Eastern subjects". How hard could that have been? It did work here as well. :blush:
Even so, hundreds of thousands of Belorussians, Ukrainians and Russians did join them, but because of the stupid racial doctrine, were never used efficiently.

red_elk
Sep 03, 2009, 01:32 PM
As said, these are nominal increases; as such they say nothing about warreadiness. Similar increases can be cited for most major European countries during 1939-1941 and even before. I would argue that the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact lulled Stalin into a false sense of security; the quality of the Soviet armed forces was still appalling in June 1941. By contrast, German armed forces gained experience during 1939-'41 and acquired resources without which an attack on the Soviet Union wouldn't even have been possible.
We don't need to repeat the same arguments. You are basing on our present knowledge about what happened in Europe in 1939-1941. In 1939 all this could not be predicted. The fact is that Red Army greatly increased it's potential in period 1939-1941 (as the other European powers did, as you said).

You assert it postponed war with the USSR for 2 years, but fail to prove that assertion. As said, war with the USSR would have been suicidal in 1939; it would imply a two-front war. (Also, the Wehrmacht was just as far from Moscow in 1939 as in 1941; the Red Army however was closer to the German border - which was one of the reasons for the huge losses it suffered in the 1941 campaign - again, as said.)
My assertion is more general. In summer 1939, everybody knew that war is coming, and USSR had to sign some kind of agreement with either Germany or Allies, in order to avoid international isolation. The position of Britain, France and Poland made Soviet alliance with them impossible.

Fury as Russia presents 'evidence' Poland sided with Nazis before war
In general, I don't see anything totally impossible in existing of Polish-German secret agreement. It was quite a common practice to amend public agreements with secret pacts at the time. Of course, one evidence doesn't prove the claim, but if the other evidences will be found in German or Polish archives, it can be proven. So, except inappropriate time for such disclosure (if they did it in 1-st September), I don't see anything wrong with that, and of course there are no reasons to blame Russian side on publishing of faked documents, basing such blame on article in "Guardian".

More importantly:
1) as seen above, USSR already in 1939 had absolute superiority in terms of armed forces. More than two times as many aircraft, 7,5 times as many tanks and so on. Not to mention an industrial base and raw material deposits which dwarfed Germany. They didn't need to be afraid of Hitler. Had war between USSR and Germany broken out in 1939, Germans would have had very poor chances. Not to mention they did not even share a common border, so 1941-style surprise attack would not have been possible.
Germany and USSR already had the common border in September 1939, all that Stalin could do about that is to change location of the border. Yes, USSR had superiority in 1939, but as you can see, even the bigger superiority did not prevent initial catastrophe in 1941.

2) as you said, during these two years, not only Russians grew their army and prepared for war; so did Germany, which also doubled their number of divisions. Mostly, it managed to do so thanks for thousands of tons of raw materials like grain, oil, rubber and manganese provided by USSR. If Stalin's sole wish is to out-compete and out-build Hitler, then why these trade agreements?
How do you explain these agreements, if you claim that USSR was about to attack Germany in 1941?

SeleucusNicator
Sep 03, 2009, 01:45 PM
I'm missing something really important I think... If Britain and France had military obligations with Poland.. why they didnt declare war inmediatly to russia after their invasion of Poland? ... can someone quote where the answer to this is ... or explain to me ... thanks

Countries only follow treaties when it is in their best self-interest to do so. A treaty not backed by common self interest is meaningless.

Unlike a domestic contract (where you can go to court and force the other person to follow the contract), you cannot enforce a treaty against another country, because there is no international body that has the power to force a country to comply.

Yeekim
Sep 03, 2009, 04:48 PM
Germany and USSR already had the common border in September 1939, all that Stalin could do about that is to change location of the border.
There was no common border before attack against Poland. And while these are speculations that unfortunately can't be proven, I really do not think Hitler would have dared attack Poland without green light from Stalin.
Yes, USSR had superiority in 1939, but as you can see, even the bigger superiority did not prevent initial catastrophe in 1941. Yes. Initial. Because Germany got extremely lucky in a surprise attack at the moment when Soviet forces were prepared for everything but defense. But what do you think would have happened if USSR managed to land the first strike instead?
How do you explain these agreements, if you claim that USSR was about to attack Germany in 1941?
Because Stalin saw Hitler spending these supplies to weaken France and Britain. Had he wanted to just destroy Germany, he needn't stop at the agreed line in 1939. He could have reached Berlin already then, what with 8 tanks and 2 planes against 1, Hitler likely still unsuspecting and France and Britain waiting for an opportune moment behind his back. No, I believe he intended to liberate the Western part of Europe exactly same way he did liberate the Eastern part. He needed it weakened and conquered by Nazis first. And for this, Hitler needed a bit of a buff first, and a bit deceiving into thinking he has a friend in the East. And he himself needed a larger force than just taking out Germany would have required. Well, as we know, that plan backfired.

But allow me to present a counter-question: how do you explain these agreements, if you claim that Stalin signed the pact only to buy his time and prepare against German attack he knew would eventually come?
Also, if he knew Germans would attack, why do you think he wouldn't have considered a preventive, surprise strike rather than focusing on a defense? After all, Germany later proved what such a strike could have accomplished even against huge numerical superiority. Were Soviet military planners really so...shy? And even if we believe he really wanted to focus on defense, then why was Soviet army still so poorly prepared for it after these years?

red_elk
Sep 03, 2009, 05:31 PM
Yes. Initial. Because Germany got extremely lucky in a surprise attack at the moment when Soviet forces were prepared for everything but defense. But what do you think would have happened if USSR managed to land the first strike instead?
The Soviet pre-emptive strike would most likely be disastrous for Germans, especially in 1941. The fact that it didn't happen, kind of supports my opinion that Stalin tried to avoid war with Germany for as long as possible - and M-R pact obviously served for such purpose too.

Because Stalin saw Hitler spending these supplies to weaken France and Britain. Had he wanted to just destroy Germany, he needn't stop at the agreed line in 1939. He could have reached Berlin already then, what with 8 tanks and 2 planes against 1, Hitler likely still unsuspecting and France and Britain waiting for an opportune moment behind his back. No, I believe he intended to liberate the Western part of Europe exactly same way he did liberate the Eastern part. He needed it weakened and conquered by Nazis first.
But this goal was already achieved by Summer 1940. France was weakened more than enough. Britain was vulnerable for Soviet land invasion even less than for German one.
What is the reason to supply enemy with resources, if you are going to attack him soon?

But allow me to present a counter-question: how do you explain these agreements, if you claim that Stalin signed the pact only to buy his time and prepare against German attack he knew would eventually come?
I never said such things ("only to buy his time"), read my actual opinion about the pact in this thread.
The only reasonable explanation to me is that Stalin tried to stay away from war in Europe, to let all the other powers be weakened (which turned out to be a mistake).
USSR already took pretty much all the European territories it could pretend, by 1940 - there was no need to attack Germany for expansionist purposes.

One more interesting moment:
Zhukov mentioned in his memoirs that first Stalin's directive after war started, was about repelling German attack without violation of Soviet-German border by land forces.
Мы тут же просили И. В. Сталина дать войскам приказ немедля организовать ответные действия и нанести контрудары по противнику.
— Подождем возвращения Молотова, — ответил он. Через некоторое время в кабинет быстро вошел В. М. Молотов:
— Германское правительство объявило нам войну.
И. В. Сталин молча опустился на стул и глубоко задумался.
Наступила длительная, тягостная пауза.
Я рискнул нарушить затянувшееся молчание и предложил немедленно обрушиться всеми имеющимися в Приграничных округах силами на прорвавшиеся части противника и задержать их дальнейшее продвижение.
— Не задержать, а уничтожить, — уточнил С. К. Тимошенко.
— Давайте директиву, — сказал И. В. Стадии. — Но чтобы наши войска, за исключением авиации, нигде пока не нарушали немецкую границу.
http://militera.lib.ru/memo/russian/zhukov1/10.html
Also, if he knew Germans would attack, why do you think he wouldn't have considered a preventive, surprise strike rather than focusing on a defense?
I don't deny such possibility. But he didn't attack, even when it was possible and sensible. Unfortunately.

After all, Germany later proved what such a strike could have accomplished even against huge numerical superiority. And even if we believe he really wanted to focus on defense, then why was Soviet army so poorly prepared for it?
Actually, the biggest mistake on Soviet part was that it didn't use its numerical superiority properly. German attack against USSR (it was surprise attack, not a pre-emptive strike) meet in Western districts of the USSR comparable forces, which allowed them to fully use the advantage of surprise attack. The one of the main reasons of catastrophe in 1941 is that USSR didn't declare mobilisation 2-4 weeks before German attack, which allowed German main forces to deal with not concentrated Soviet forces, wave by wave.

Squonk
Sep 04, 2009, 04:47 AM
I liked the dragon-something stuttgart guy post.
I disagree with someone else's post which claimed that nothing would happen if Moscow was lost.
I completely disagree, the situation was completely different than in Napoleon's case.
When it comes to Napoleon, he took Moscow and the route to it from Lithuanian, nothing more, not Baltic States, not entire Belarus, not Ukraine; Poniatowski's demands that he'd take Ukraine instead or as well were dismissed.
Hitler almost took Moscow, but his armies were also next to Petersburg and Tsaritsin, Caucasus... it's a completely different level of threat.
Not to mention that Moscow wasn't the capital during Napoleon's invasions; that there was no industry yet, and the value of any city was less than it was during ww2
If Moscow was evacuated, Soviets would have probably lost the link to Murmansk as well --> less supplies from the west --> fail.
Romanovs' regime was also much older and relatively stronger than Soviets, who ruled the country for less than a quarter of century.

Also, to fight nazis you'd have to have men. Fighting from behind the Ural wouldn't be possible, simply because there would be not many people to recruit there.

of course, I am not specialist in this subject, but these are my impressions.

Dragonlord
Sep 04, 2009, 05:57 AM
I liked the dragon-something stuttgart guy post.
I disagree with someone else's post which claimed that nothing would happen if Moscow was lost.
I completely disagree, the situation was completely different than in Napoleon's case.
When it comes to Napoleon, he took Moscow and the route to it from Lithuanian, nothing more, not Baltic States, not entire Belarus, not Ukraine; Poniatowski's demands that he'd take Ukraine instead or as well were dismissed.
Hitler almost took Moscow, but his armies were also next to Petersburg and Tsaritsin, Caucasus... it's a completely different level of threat.
Not to mention that Moscow wasn't the capital during Napoleon's invasions; that there was no industry yet, and the value of any city was less than it was during ww2
If Moscow was evacuated, Soviets would have probably lost the link to Murmansk as well --> less supplies from the west --> fail.
Romanovs' regime was also much older and relatively stronger than Soviets, who ruled the country for less than a quarter of century.

Also, to fight nazis you'd have to have men. Fighting from behind the Ural wouldn't be possible, simply because there would be not many people to recruit there.

of course, I am not specialist in this subject, but these are my impressions.

:thanx:

I agree about Moscow - the simple comparison with Napoleon is flawed. Moscow in the 20th century was far more a communications and transport hub than at the beginning of the 19th century.
Also, I wonder if the loss of Moscow would not also have destroyed Stalin's nimbus of invulnerability.
I'm not saying it definitely would have led to the USSR's collapse, but I do see such a possibility.

red_elk
Sep 04, 2009, 09:03 AM
Hitler almost took Moscow, but his armies were also next to Petersburg and Tsaritsin
Next to Leningrad and Stalingrad.
Agree about Moscow importance.

Yeekim
Sep 04, 2009, 09:41 AM
The Soviet pre-emptive strike would most likely be disastrous for Germans, especially in 1941. The fact that it didn't happen, kind of supports my opinion that Stalin tried to avoid war with Germany for as long as possible - and M-R pact obviously served for such purpose too.
Let's just say he decided to wait... for something.

But this goal was already achieved by Summer 1940. France was weakened more than enough. Britain was vulnerable for Soviet land invasion even less than for German one.
What is the reason to supply enemy with resources, if you are going to attack him soon?
Maybe he believed Hitler really was about to commence Seelöwe (and needed these supplies for it)? For this would have been a perfect moment to strike from rear. And naturally, ending these agreements would have been seen as hostile move, making Hitler cautious.

The only reasonable explanation to me is that Stalin tried to stay away from war in Europe, to let all the other powers be weakened (which turned out to be a mistake).
USSR already took pretty much all the European territories it could pretend, by 1940 - there was no need to attack Germany for expansionist purposes.
Hmm, why try to weaken your opponents if you do not plan to take advantage of it? Somehow I find a bit hard to believe that Stalin built three times as many tanks as rest of the world combined just to be left alone. Also, as you pointed out quite correctly, France fell quickly and the "weakening" part did not seem to work much longer. If we entirely remove USSR from European affairs in 1941, then it is uncontested Nazi domination. You think Stalin would have left Hitler to rule everything between Oslo, Athens, Paris and Warsaw undisturbed? If given time to recover from initial effort of taking these lands and pacify resistance, Nazis would have become a lot stronger than before.
So summarily, we would have to presume that:
1) even though Stalin spent his entire rule industrializing and arming USSR, at the cost of tremendous sacrifices, in doing so he just acted according to old Roman proverb;
2) he was willing to let Hitler keep German conquests in Europe;
3) he had entirely given up on idea of world revolution, even when the most opportune moment to subdue rest of Europe presented itself, largely as the result of his actions.

I must respectfully say I find this very hard to believe.

EDIT:
. German attack against USSR (it was surprise attack, not a pre-emptive strike)
If Germany did not see this as preemptive strike, I am not sure how to describe it, as complete and utter madness falls short. I know, Hitler was pretty mad, but in his works he shows that he understood what war on two fronts meant for Germany...

Basically, I believe this is what Occam's Razor should be about. It made sense for Stalin to want to attack, and therefore it made sense for Hitler to try and preempt him. The opposite makes equally little sense imho.

red_elk
Sep 04, 2009, 10:03 AM
Hmm, why try to weaken your opponents if you do not plan to take advantage of it?
Taking advantage doesn't necessarily mean invasion. For example, USA after WW2 took full advantage of weakened Europe, in economical and geopolitical sense.

So summarily, we would have to presume that:
1) even though Stalin spent his entire rule industrializing and arming USSR, at the cost of tremendous sacrifices, in doing so he just acted according to old Roman proverb;
2) he was willing to let Hitler keep German conquests in Europe;
3) he had entirely given up on idea of world revolution, even when the most opportune moment to subdue rest of Europe presented itself, largely as the result of his actions.

I must respectfully say I find this very hard to believe.

It was quite possible that he would attack. Later, not in 1941.
He decided not to do it before June 1941 and it was most likely a mistake.
As for world revolution, the events in 1919-1921 (Poland) and 1939-1940 (Baltic states and Finland) showed that idea of world revolution was an outdated ideological crap. It was not being taken seriously in Soviet government after 1930.

red_elk
Sep 04, 2009, 10:14 AM
If Germany did not see this as preemptive strike, I am not sure how to describe it, as complete and utter madness falls short. I know, Hitler was pretty mad, but in his works he shows that he understood what war on two fronts meant for Germany...

Basically, I believe this is what Occam's Razor should be about. It made sense for Stalin to want to attack, and therefore it made sense for Hitler to try and preempt him. The opposite makes equally little sense imho.

Now you are literally repeating Dr. Goebbels propaganda. My congratulations.
Like Occam's Razor principle?
1. There are no evidences that Hitler indeed expected Soviet attack. But there are evidences that Germans seriously (by several times) underestimated size and potential of Soviet army.
2. There are no evidences of Soviet plans to attack Germany in June-July 1941. Quite the opposite, Stalin's actions show that he tried to avoid war in 1941.

Yeekim
Sep 04, 2009, 05:23 PM
Taking advantage doesn't necessarily mean invasion. For example, USA after WW2 took full advantage of weakened Europe, in economical and geopolitical sense.
Alright. But in our case, we would eventually have arrived at strengthened Germany, instead of weakened enemies.
As for world revolution, the events in 1919-1921 (Poland) and 1939-1940 (Baltic states and Finland) showed that idea of world revolution was an outdated ideological crap. It was not being taken seriously in Soviet government after 1930. Umm, and how exactly you think these events showed that?
Now you are literally repeating Dr. Goebbels propaganda. My congratulations.
The fact that Dr Goebbels has also claimed something does not by itself make it wrong. Hell, a few lines before someone said:
It was quite possible that he would attack. Later, not in 1941.
And I still don't see what exactly was Stalin waiting for?
1. There are no evidences that Hitler indeed expected Soviet attack. But there are evidences that Germans seriously (by several times) underestimated size and potential of Soviet army.
He simply couldn't wait to get into a war on two fronts? And noone in German High Command was smart enough to arrive at the conclusion we both arrived at - namely that Stalin's attack would be "quite possible"?

2. There are no evidences of Soviet plans to attack Germany in June-July 1941. Quite the opposite, Stalin's actions show that he tried to avoid war in 1941.
According to some historians, there are evidence aplenty. ;) The fact that no document titled "Plan for attacking Germany in June-July 1941" has been found, does not mean there is no evidence. As for "the opposite", why exactly should we believe Zhukov's memoirs more than we believe Goebbels, especially in that particular matter? He was hardly a "neutral observer" either.

red_elk
Sep 04, 2009, 07:32 PM
Umm, and how exactly you think these events showed that?
In brief, Soviet-Polish war showed that military interwention could not provoke proletarian revolution in European countries. The events of 1939-1940 confirmed this. Also, in 1925 in USSR was adopted thesis about building "Socialism in one country", which basically meant giving up the idea of world revolution.

The fact that Dr Goebbels has also claimed something does not by itself make it wrong. Hell, a few lines before someone said:
The fact that Stalin might some time later probably attack Germany, or might not attack, doesn't mean that German attack was a pre-emptive strike. Otherwise, if Germans attacked France instead of Poland in 1939, it would be also pre-emptive strike. Or Japanese attack on Pearl-Harbor.

Pre-emptive strike assumes there was a very serious threat, danger of being attacked very soon, which cannot be said about Germany in June 1941, simply because USSR had not enough forces in Western districts and didn't declare mobilization.

I'm not claiming that all what had been said by Goebbels is wrong by definition. The problem is that you are repeating unapproved claims which were also used in Nazi propaganda.
And I still don't see what exactly was Stalin waiting for?
I don't know. You said he could attack already in 1939 - what he was waiting for two years?

He simply couldn't wait to get into a war on two fronts? And noone in German High Command was smart enough to arrive at the conclusion we both arrived at - namely that Stalin's attack would be "quite possible"?
There was no two-fronts war for Germany until 1944, thanks to our allies. Hitler just considered that instead of attacking Britain, it would be easier to defeat USSR in a few months, before winter. And started land war in Russia.

About German high command, the same. They didn't have wikipedia to check number of Soviet tanks in 1941. Soviet military potential was underestimated very seriously and there are no single evidence that possibility of Soviet attack was taken seriously by anybody in German command. They even didn't have military plans of defensive war on Eastern front (unlike USSR).

According to some historians, there are evidence aplenty. ;) The fact that no document titled "Plan for attacking Germany in June-July 1941" has been found, does not mean there is no evidence.
I wouldn't say "according to some historians", talking about Rezun's conspiracy theories.
"According to some historians" there was no holocaust - it doesn't mean all the other historians should take them seriously.

As for "the opposite", why exactly should we believe Zhukov's memoirs more than we believe Goebbels, especially in that particular matter? He was hardly a "neutral observer" either.
Your question is strange.
First, because Zhukov was a witness of describing events, and he wasn't describing Stalin in especially favourable light in his memoirs.
Second, you don't have to believe Zhukov's memoirs - even if he was wrong it doesn't prove that Stalin was about to attack Germany in June 1941.
Third, because Goebbels' "evidences" is not the best possible foundation to build your position on it. Lying was his profession.